WHITE STONES — Kuarahy (review)

WHITE STONES — Kuarahy album cover Album · 2020 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Nightfly
White Stones are a new band that will no doubt be most talked about because it features Opeth bassist Martín Méndez. More of a Méndez solo project than a band? Quite possibly and as he wrote all the music and nearly all the lyrics he’s clearly in charge here. As well as bass duties Méndez also supplies a lot of the guitar. He is joined by Jordi Farré on drums and vocalist Eloi Boucherie. There’s also guest appearances from guitarist Per Ericsson and his Opeth Bandmate Fredrik Akesson who plays the guitar solos on six of the tracks.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on Kuarahy, their debut album, despite hearing rumours that it was nearer to the sound of old style Opeth than recent Opeth albums are. To be honest it doesn’t really sound much like Opeth to me though not surprisingly occasional influences can be heard. Musically White Stones play progressive metal that also leans towards death metal. The vocals certainly fit death metal but a lot of the guitar parts are quite clean sounding for that particular sub-genre. The album largely has a similar vibe throughout with guitar riffs often cleanly picked, at least by death metal standards, though they dirty things up a bit with some welcome dissonance at times. Much of the material locks into a mid-paced groove with fast rolling double kick drums underpinning it all, though a more syncopated approach is used at times. The standard of musicianship is not surprisingly high and many of the songs have infectious hooks that on the face of it sound fairly simple but repeated plays reveal there’s more going on here than on initial inspection. The album is bookended by a couple of short non-essential instrumental tracks but other than that the quality of the material is strong though I find myself leaning more in favour of the groove laden stuff.

Hats off to Martin Méndez for his selection of sympathetic musicians and producing an original sounding album that doesn’t really sound like anyone else I can think of off the top of my head. Whether this turns out to be a one off project or not I don’t know, but I’d certainly be more than happy to have the opportunity to hear more from this interesting band.
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