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Corvus Stone - Corvus Stone Unscrewed CD (album) cover


Corvus Stone


Crossover Prog

3.91 | 206 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The latest-to-date album from Corvus Stone must have surprised a lot of people, and rightfully so. A collection of remixes already, from a band with only two studio albums under its belt? And less than 50-minutes long, after stuffing those earlier CDs almost beyond their digital capacity? Was the Stone finally slowing down and starting to gather moss?

Hardly. The most surprising aspect of the new album is how fresh and invigorating the remixes are, enough to qualify as original compositions. Even more obvious is the evolution of a genuine Corvus Stone identity, beyond the enthusiastic multi-national kitchen sink style defining the band thus far. With three albums now to their credit, it's easier to triangulate an underpinning of an actual group aesthetic, from the typically eye-popping cover art to the ear-friendly warmth of the music itself.

"Ear-Friendly" is guitarist and spokesperson Colin Tench's phrase. He's referring specifically to the dynamic range of the new mix, a vast improvement over the sometimes sterile, studio-confined sound of the earlier albums, in particular the 2012 debut, which supplied the bulk of material for these reboots. The difference can be startling. Listen to the bonus track "Moustaches in Massachusetts", the one song here left more or less untouched from its original incarnation, and then to the completely revamped "Scary Movie/Cinema" medley, for an immediate and dramatic comparison.

The same ear-friendliness applies to the music also, and in particular to the new tunes (yes, there are newer tunes, comprising a third of the album). I would hesitate to use a word like 'maturity' when describing songs with titles like "Joukahainen Without Chips" or "Pack Up Your Truffles", but there's an organic richness to the writing and performances that at last fulfills the potential of the band's earlier efforts. Not for nothing does the album open with a track titled "Brand New Day".

All the players shine, and it's very much a group undertaking. But Colin Tench's classic rock guitarmanship is worth singling out, capable of moving with ease from Arena Rock extroversion to unplugged intimacy, often in the space of a few bars. This project actually began as an acoustic set, but in typical Corvus Stone fashion mutated quickly into something else entirely.

"Unscrewed" is (so far) only available as a digital download, and free of charge to anyone who bought an earlier Stone album: a gesture of uncomplicated goodwill almost unknown in musical commerce. The one string attached is a warning to consumers: "Don't try to lie to us, or we will send Mike Portnoy, Lars Ulrich and Lemmy to hunt you down!" That's a direct quote from the Corvus Stone Bandcamp page, and a frightening threat if you really think about it. Did someone say Scary Movie..?

Tench calls the freebie a gift to fans. But really the album is a present to everyone, offered with disarming modesty and a refreshing lack of hyperbolic bows or ribbons. In retrospect the first two albums were only works-in-progress: calling cards announcing the headline act to follow. If true, here's a sign that the band is now ready to take the main stage. Ladies and Gentlemen...presenting Corvus Stone.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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