Released: 2005, Bells Go Clang/Bonnier Amigo
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Bonnie Amigo released this album on their new sub label Bells Go Clang and the album was first released in their home country Norway at the beginning of the year and ought to be released in the rest of Scandinavia during the year.
Stonegard began their journey in 2000 after a bunch of shows that got rave reviews. Even though the guys in Stonegard are quite young, all of them around 26, they have played music for about 8 years. The reason why their album has taken so long to be released is because the band is constantly going through musical development. The guys refuse to let go of material that doesn’t lives up to both their audience’s expectations as well as their own, which apparently this album does.
From the info sheet it is really hard to figure out what this band plays; “Dirty testosterone rock?, Groovy thrash metal?, Rock’n’Roll with strong leanings towards doom and black metal? Or the best one, Sabbath-meets-Slayer-on-the-way-to-a-jamsession-with-Metallica-in-the-best-speed-metal-area-(around 83)-rock?”. If you just take one look at the cover you almost could guess that Stonegard are all about 70’s hardrock or stoner rock if you want that description.
And yes, this is 70’s hardrock with influences of dirty testosterone rock’n’roll and you can also find a hint of doom metal in between everything, and I can assure you that no similarity with Metallica and Slayer can be find anywhere on this album.
ARROWS was recorded during last summer in Uppsala Sweden by Daniel Bergstrand and Örjan Örnkloo in the famous Dug-Out studio owned by Daniel. If you have heard anything that have come out from Dug-Out before you know that we’re talking about stable and heavy production and so is it in this case as well.
Stonegard says that ARROWS features 10 of their best songs the band has done during these 4 years, together with Daniel they have been taken apart, analyzed, fine-tuned, put together again and built a record that is nothing less than a revelation.
I do think that the material isn’t of an equally high standard through out the album, but some songs are excellent like “The White Shaded Live”, “Triggerfinger”, “Arrows” and “Hunter”.
I think that Stonegard have 2 major problems.
1. They try so hard and mix too many different music styles so it all ends up in a blur. That makes the impression of this album very shattered and un-focused.
2. Torgrim on vocals has a very week voice without any range at all. His voice works best in the 70’s hardrock parts but otherwise he falls flat to the ground.
If the band could agree to what musical direction they want to go I think they have potential to go far but as it is now they feel too shattered and the material doesn’t last the whole album. If they think of that when it’s time for the next album I think that they can do better.