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Review: Sandstone - Purging the Past
Purging the Past

Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2009
Duration: 55:23
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 5, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating
Purging the Past

Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (5 Votes)

Time is the key, which is something as a reviewer I should never forget. It also helps to listen to the album the whole way through as opposed to turning it off two tracks in. I must admit it was hard work at first; I just didn't get these guys. Compared to the usual releases LMP send our way Sandstone is a completely different story – well at first glimpse that is. I just couldn't put a finger on what these guys sounded like, but after giving the album a full whirl I could see what the band were going for. Think Power Metal as a foundation, from that point inject a myriad of influence ranging from hard rock to Progressive Metal and we're starting to talk Sandstones language. I feel quite the fool for condemning this first time around because in all honesty, I was wrong. While this isn't flat-out amazing its pretty charming and fairly original, they have a real 80's sensibility about them and there's a load of Queensryche and Fates Warning to be heard in their sound.

The hardest part to get over for me was singer Sean McBay. He boasts a unique voice which at times reminds of Lance King – rather unfortunately we see him sound quite a bit like Axl Rose in "Y". However things could really be a lot worse, as Sean boasts a good sense of melody and can definitely hold a note. I found with time that his vocals really grew on me, which is something common with everything on offer on Purging the Past. Repeated listens are nigh on essential to open this up, but if you take the time you're certainly rewarded. Again to draw comparisons, Fates Warning's 1991 release Parallels is another good example of what these guys sound like, Purging the Past has a similar feel to it, melodic, heartfelt and easy on the ears. There are some really great songs to be had here too: album opener "Anymore Lies" gives a good feel as to what the band are about, boasting some stellar guitar work – something that really stands out actually, singer Sean McBay and Steve McLaughlin handle the guitars and deliver to a very high melodic standard, great guitar solos and some smoking riffage are served up throughout. "Son of Carthage" is a great prog/power track and stands as a personal highlight, it would be nice to see more tracks like this on future releases. "DOA" is another highlight for me, Sandstone really do everything right here, especially the guitar work both in the main riff and chorus, and lets not forget how cool the mid-section and solo are.

While I'm swallowing down the humble pie in front of me I'd just like to say I'm glad I invested my time with this band. It's definitely worth it and I'd like to hope a lot more people will find something special on Purging the Past. While this isn't flat out amazing, or reinventing the genre for that matter, Sandstone serve up a truly heartfelt album, oozing with charm and energy. The Progressive Metal genre could definitely do with some more albums like this; it's increasingly rarer we see albums ringing true to the pre Images & Words Progressive Metal scene. Perfect Sunday afternoon listening, sit back relax and enjoy the offer – just remember things might not click the first time around! Recommended.

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