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Stoneghost: New Age Of Old Ways

Hearty, heavy debut from groove metal Londoners.

Depending on your ‘shouty metal’ threshold, this will either be a bit much, or a welcome shot of wall-to-wall beef. For those of the latter persuasion, step inside.

Stoneghost clearly like Pantera. A lot. Not least vocalist Jason Smith – a bald explosion of vitriolic blood, guts and brutal cries, seemingly clawed from his oesophagus by Phil Anselmo himself.

This is complemented immaculately by Zakk Wylde-esque fretboard shrieks, tight blast-beats and furious crashing in the likes of Your Trigger, My Finger. It’s fast and very furious, but piqued by deliciously swaggering, bluesy-minded guitar flashes (delivered with panache by Andrew Matthews), pushing buttons for metalheads and classic rockers alike.

The Sound Remains, for example – angry and ‘metal’ as hell, but all sassy melodic riffs and grooves at the same time. And Raynardine, for all its hardcore yells and crunching dropped-down-low tuning, builds from a syncopated, almost jaunty hook. And just when things risk getting slightly mono-tonal, Third Degree changes gear with a majestic, rousing crescendo.

New Age Of Old Ways might not rewrite any rulebooks, but it puts a fresh, zingy face on treasured old grooves./o:p

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