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Released: 2005, Independent
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Hailing from the Adriatic city of Split, Croatia, Stimulans brings an admittedly unoriginal but still effective blend of mid-paced traditional/power metal with flecks of hard rock thrown in for good measure on their four-song demo, NO WORDS. This is dark stuff, not unlike Fates Warning, but carries with it an infectious melody lifted from 70s hard rock bands that propels the overly-long songs along nicely. Mario Culjak’s vocals possess a Chris Cornell-like mid-range that is easy on the ears but when he hits some higher notes, things go wrong fast. The self-produced NO WORDS is rough around the edges but is also scads better than some of the rubbish sent my way by up-and-coming bands (for every one band that is good, I have to suffer through five who have no business stepping within ten feet of a musical instrument). Stimulans’ sound is timeless, in that, the style of music they play will never go out of fashion and its stripped-down approach is devoid of any trends that may date it. For that reason alone, I must tip my hat but also make note that there are literally thousands of bands in North America—and probably around the globe—toiling in bars and clubs peddling a very similar sound, so Stimulans definitely needs to add some more flair to rise above the pack.
The darkly catchy chorus of “Sacrifice” follows a slow, galloping rhythm that would settle in nicely with a harder-edged Foreigner track. Culjak’s soaring vocal channels that of Chris Cornell (Audioslave, ex-Soundgarden) and the subdued solo of Darko Grubisic and rhythms of Culjak really drive the song. “Dust The Road” is a speedier number with Djole’s drums really standing out. “Train” boasts the most solid riffs, coming off like a Rainbow-influenced guitarfest and Culjak’s almost soulful croon really makes this song the keeper of the bunch. The riff found on the title track is one of the most soothing and interesting on the CD and Grubisic’s solo and use of pinch harmonics once again steals the spotlight. Culjak attempts a falsetto scream at 4:50 that is painful to hear and he really goes far beyond his capable range.
What Stimulans needs to do is shorten their songs. With an average length of six minutes, just about every song could be trimmed of some fat without sacrificing anything. The band doesn’t meander into prog wankery so there is no reason for a straight-forward metal track to pass the six minute mark, let alone seven minutes! Still, Stimulans has some potential and they have captured the essence of their sound well here. With a bit of guidance and some careful fine-tuning to their songwriting, this band could be one to watch.
KILLER KUTS: “Dust the Road,” “Train”
2. Dust The Road
4. No Words
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