Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Grand Lux - Carved In Stone 2007 Review

Grand Lux - Carved In Stone

Ulterium Records 2007


Formed 8 years ago Grand Lux released their debut album, Iron Will, in 2004. Apparently it got a great response, which surprises me as I think it is a pretty average album. Nonetheless, the band have forged on and now we have their sophomore effort 'Carved In Stone'. The press release that accompanied the album says "The result of this recording - the progression since "Iron Will" is overwhelming, the new album "Carved In Stone," is far superior than it's precursor." One of the few times a press release is actually on the money. The jump in quality both musically and sonically is huge. The 2 - 3 years between the 2 albums has been spent well as 'Carved In Stone' is a strong recording, bordering on American 80's hard rock and European melodic hard rock.

Influences stated by the band are Kiss, Dio, Judas Priest, but to be frank I hear quite a bit of Stryper. That comparison is mainly due to vocalist Phil Goode having more than passing resemblance to Michael Sweet when he hits notes in the upper register. The tracks 'Through Dirt' and 'Eye Of The Storm' are a clear example of this. As I said the music heads more in the hard rock direction than classic metal, but there are a couple of tracks that will make the listener think back to the early days, such as 'Escaping The Clouds', 'Love Reflection' and Priest-ish 'Eternity In Fire'. Other notable tracks are the bluesy Great White tinged 'Like Hall From Blue Sky', and 'Never Fall' with its Evidence One/Domain feel.

One of the areas that I judge an album in is whether the songs stay with you after only one or two plays. 'Carved In Stone' gets a high pass mark on that basis. Surprisingly for an album of this style there is not a single ballad, which may have helped the band in the value for money category as the cd clocks in at a low 40 minutes. Personally I think 45 minutes is a basic minimum, but you do get the video clip for 'Escaping The Clouds'. Grand Lux have certainly moved on from 2004 and have more than made up for, as I believed, an average effort on 'Iron Will'. The song writing has improved significantly, as has the production. Together they make Grand Lux and 'Carved In Stone' a welcome release in 2007.

Rating: 8/10

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