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White Stones - Kurahy CD (album) cover

KURAHY

White Stones

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.95 | 2 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Kuarahy" is the debut full-length studio album by Spanish, Barcelona based progressive death metal act White Stones. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in March 2020. White Stones formed in 2019 and is a side project for Opeth bassist Martín Méndez. Méndez plays bass and guitars on the album and the lineup is completed by drummer Jordi Farré and lead vocalist Eloi Boucherie. Guest musicians Fredrik Åkesson (Méndez bandmate from Opeth) and Per Eriksson (Bloodbath, Katatonia) perform additional lead guitars (the former plays most leads on the album).

Stylistically the material on "Kuarahy" is a heavy, groove based, and organic type of progressive death metal. While the growling vocals are certainly brutal enough, "Kuarahy" isn´t the most death metal oriented death metal release out there. The organic, pleasant, and warm sound production is relatively subdued and it´s obvious the band aren´t out to pummel the listener with a loud abrasive sound. This is a much more sophisticated, laid back, and thoughtful approach to writing and playing death metal. The tracks aren´t overtly complex and the progressive ideas only emerge once in a while, so "Kuarahy" is generally an accessible release, which isn´t hard to get into, although it´s certainly intriguing enough and not simple in any way either.

One of the great assets of the band´s music is the irresistible laid back groove. I´m often reminded of 70s hard rock/stoner rock but just as often I hear similarities to the more complex rhythmic riffs of Tool (there´s even the rare semi-jazzy touch). The drums often pedal away with double bass hits, but not in an aggressive fashion and the drumming is perfectly complimenting the intricate riffs. The guitar solos and the atmosphere enhancing guitar leads bring variation to the music and they are generally very well played and are another great asset to the album. The growling vocals are probably the least interesting feature on the album. They are not badly performed and they suit the music fine, but I would have preferred them a little more intelligible and maybe also a bit more varied and intense. They simply leave me a bit indifferent.

"Kuarahy" was not an album, which won me over the first time I listened to it, but it planted a seed of curiosity in me, and with each successive listen I have been won over more and more, to the point of me greatly enjoying the album and finding it a very unique listen. It´s a well written and varied album featuring many different stylistic elements combined into a consistent whole. There are several standout tracks on the album, but if I´d have to mention a couple of highlights it would be "Worms", "The One", "Guyra", and "Infected Soul".

So the million dollar question that almost anyone reading a review of "Kuarahy" will ask is of course if this sounds anything like Opeth...and while both acts are in some way progressive death metal (Opeth not so much anymore), there are as many differences as there are similarities. They are definitely kindred spirits, but White Stones are ultimately a very different sounding act and anyone coming to "Kuarahy" expecting it to sound like Opeth won´t get their money´s worth. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved for this little perl of an album.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

UMUR | 4/5 |

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