I had the privilege (And it was a privilege) of being at the launch show for this record last month and I have been looking forward to bringing you this review pretty much ever since.
All In Time is the debut album from the Walsall based quartet and is made up of 5 brand new tracks and 5 from 2014’s The Crow Flies EP. The project was initially intended to be 2nd EP but plans soon changed as frontman Rich Moss explains:
“We originally went back to Romesh at Longwave Studios to record a second EP but upon hearing the results of both sessions together, they just cried out to be collated as a single album. So we asked Romesh to work his magic and he remastered all 10 tracks together to make them sonically tight. In all honesty it’s turned out fantastically well and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
I’ve been following the band since before the release of the aforementioned The Crow Flies EP and frankly my expectations are pretty huge going into reviewing this one, so the question is, does All In Time deliver?
I love some bands because of their complexity, their bending of every musical rule in the book and sheer refusal to make music ‘properly,’ but I also love bands at the other end of the spectrum. Stone Broken work because of their simplicity. They make no frills hard rock and make no apologies for doing so. The guys know their lane and they dominate it. Straight from the very first track on this record you are left in absolutely no doubt what these guys are all about.
Not Your Enemy throws the listener straight into the action. The drums are concussive, the main guitar riff thunders and the chorus towers over the whole thing. In many ways its hard rock 101, but it’s just so damn effective. It’s catchy, it’s instant and it sums up the band in one hard hitting 3 minute and 40 second rock and roll bundle.
Up next is Better which was one of the stand out moments in its previous life on the band’s last EP. The important thing is that even for long term fans it still sounds as fresh as ever. It’s a track which always raises the roof when played live, and its unerringly positive ‘take on the world’ message is infectious. As with the majority of the tracks with this band it would work great as a single and the guitar solo which rips through the final third takes the song just up one more level.
The pace then drops for Be There which gives more than a little tip of the hat towards Black Stone Cherry. It’s a big, bold swaggering effort which feels like it has been laced with the finest Jack Daniels. (Yes, I’m still hoping for that endorsement deal) Once again the guitar solo just soars to the sky and back in the most badass way possible, and it’s another song which I can’t fault. Let Me Go kicks things back into top gear for a rip-roaring blast of further proof that the quartet have the tunes to hang on the grandest of grand stages.
As you’ve probably gathered by this point the majority of this record is your classic blood and thunder hard rock but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings too! Every rock band worth their salt need a ballad and this is Stone Broken’s. In all honesty I didn’t think that the band had this in their locker but it delivers in a huge way. The chorus is the stuff that stadium crowds’ dreams are made of, and all in all it’s a great show of versatility.
Save Tomorrow marks the return of the trademark chugging riffs, although the verses are still pretty stripped back to build to yet another monster chorus. This Life is the traditional show closer when the band play live and it’s a real force of nature. Another Day and Fall Back Down are more of the same; there’s not much that I can say that I haven’t said already. This is a seriously high quality hard rock record.
I must admit I was a little sceptical when I heard that the album was going to be a mix of essentially old and new material. I was worried it wouldn’t flow, so the placing of the ‘EP songs’ in the track list had to be done really carefully and thankfully it has been. The record runs from front to back brilliantly and doesn’t feel clunky in the slightest, that being said my only minor criticism of the album is that I wish that there were more original tracks. I understand that the album will reach a hell of a lot more people than the EP did but having half an album of songs which fans may well have heard and brought before seems a lot. It might seem like I’m being overly critical, but you see my point.
Final track Stay All Night was the project’s lead single and is still in my eyes the best song that the band have produced to date. It received an absolute tonne of airplay on a national level and I can’t say that I was surprised. Straight from the off it hits you straight between the eyes, the vocal from Moss is as direct as ever, the rhythm section of Haycock on drums and Conroy on bass is ferocious and as solid as ever while the lead guitar from Davis is nothing short of majestic. I’ve dropped the video below for you to see for yourselves.
All In Time is about a well-rounded and well put together rock record as you are likely to find. The band are one of the hottest rock bands in the West Midlands right now and this is further proof if ever it were needed that that honour is no fluke.
It might only be January 12th but you’ll be hard pressed to hear many better albums than this all year. All In Time really is that damn good.
All In Time is officially released 29th January.