|Review: Sandstone - Cultural Dissonance|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2011
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: January 14, 2012
Reviewed by: MetalMike
I confess that my first impression of Sandstone and their third album Cultural Dissonance was that of an Orden Ogan clone. The style of Progressive/Power Metal they play, replete with crunchy guitars, high, clear vocals and insidiously catch songwriting, seemed to be very familiar. Not that there is anything wrong with emulating quality music, but there is actually a lot more happening on Cultural Dissonance than is initially obvious. It just takes a few extra spins.
At times Sean McBay's voice sounds a lot like Tony Harnell. It got to the point where I had to check the credits to make sure the former T.N.T. singer wasn't providing some guest vocals. McBay does eschew Harnell's screams, which is a relief. When you combine the vocals with Stevie McLauglin's melodic riffs and creative leads you end up with some songs that truly stick in your head. While many of the "heavier" tracks do bear similarities with Orden Ogan, there are also tracks like the Queensryche-inspired "Silent Suicide," with its staccato keyboard and drum work. The guys in Sandstone are at their best when they slow the tempo down. "No More" and the album highlight, "Little Forgeries" are beautifully melodic songs.
I had not heard of Sandstone prior to Cultural Dissonance but after hearing it I won't be ignoring any future releases. If you like Orden Ogan, Queensryche and even classic T.N.T. you won't ignore Cultural Dissonance either.
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