Most promotional audio I receive comes in separate files. I have to click on each song and when it’s done find the next and click on it. I’m not complaining, just saying there is work required and then I tend to focus on the song from a reviewer’s perspective. For Stonekind, I received a gapless audio file which plays the entire album without, you guessed it, gaps! This review has taken me some extra time because I start the file with intent on reviewing but end nearly forty-four minutes later realizing I’ve been lost in the music. So, let’s try this one more time.
Damn it, I did it again.
Take 12. The opening reverse delay ambience transitioning into a soothing clean toned intro of Ashes Part 1 is the cause of me getting lost in the music. The opening track builds subtly by adding layers in the background creating an epic soundscape. It sets up a seemingly predictable path for Part 2 where I would imagine the second half would continue to build, but Stonekind has a different plan.
Ashes Part 2 launches immediately into a heavy riff and crushing drums. It’s a fast paced rocking song with a skillful guitar solo worthy of melting faces. The final note of the solo fades into incoherent chatter and feedback fading in and out. The chattering disappears into the background, the feedback continues quietly allowing David Gilmour to play a little Goodbye Blue Sky style acoustic transition.
I looked it up, David Gilmour doesn’t make a guest appearance on this album, but damn, guitarist Davis Templeton is channeling his inner Pink Floyd there for sure. The feedback begins to swell behind the acoustic riff and with a two count on the drum sticks, a King Buffalo-esque palm muted riff fills the air.
I spent so much time discussing the last sixty three seconds because the transition between Ashes Part 2 and the title track, Spirit Of The Void, is something to focus on. The seamless transitions between the two tracks is (for lack of a better word) incredible and we’re only three songs in!
I won’t drone on and on from here on out, I promise. Even though I could. Spirit Of The Void continues along the same path I discussed above and showcases how well the duo lock in with each other in their timing.
[Ashes Part 2 is] a fast paced rocking song with a skillful guitar solo worthy of melting faces…
From the a cappella haunting vocals of Nowhere’s Home to the dark lyrics such as ‘Remove the veil of self-inflicted hell’ found on Untethered, the channeling of the greats didn’t stop with David Gilmour. This time drummer and vocalist Jeff Ayers Jr reaches into his inner Layne Staley to pull out some gut-wrenching music. After a hair raising solo and another seamless transition, you can hear someone yell out ‘let’s listen.’
Immediately, Swamp Stomp starts with a drum beat reminiscent of Buddy Guy’s Baby Please Don’t Leave Me. This song captures the same dirty blues vibe that I love about Buddy Guy. There are no lack of guitar solos either with several peppered throughout. The blues are flawlessly replaced by a spacey outro to take you on yet another path.
Dust is a two-and-a-half-minute transitional song that calms things down and changes the pace for the penultimate track Behold The Stone. The Leslie speaker effect added to the clean riff blends pleasantly with Ayers vocals. It’s a calming feeling prior to the song building in intensity to get you ready for the conclusion entitled Nomadic.
The first fifty seconds of acoustic wonder allow you a believe a soothing ending may be in store. But the madness of distorted riffs and pummeling drums quickly change your mind. Over the course of the seven plus minute conclusion it appears Stonekind has packed the song full of all the influences scattered throughout the album.
The track fades to conclusion only to be brought back to life with a three count on the drum sticks and a short fast riff to an abrupt stop. I like to imagine it as an end credit scene, like in the movies, and the next album Stonekind will release is going to continue where that teaser riff ended.
The music of Stonekind has traveled from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, weaving its way through the peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains so I can enjoy Spirit Of The Void a short distance away in Asheville, and will hopefully continue its path around the world so all can enjoy a well put together piece of art.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider