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Articles Home » 2007 Articles » Stormzone - 2007 Caught In The Act
 
Stormzone - 2007 Caught In The Act



ARTIST: Stormzone
ALBUM: Caught In The Act
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 143
YEAR: 2007

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: John 'Harv' Harbinson - vocals * Keith Harris - guitars * Steve Prosser - keyboards * Peter Macken - bass * Julian Watson - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Spellbound * 02 Hold Onto Her Love * 03 Stranger Things Have Happened * 04 Nervous Breakdown * 05 Crying In The Rain * 06 Call Of The Wild * 07 Beating Of A Heart * 08 New World * 09 Tugging At My Heartstrings * 10 Sky High * 11 Rock On Through The Night

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.harv-harbinson.com


Background
From Belfast, Northern Ireland, I think the lads have left it a bit late to become the best export out of that fair country. We all agree that the late George Best takes that honour. To be honest, Stormzone are a band of cliches - and are timewarped at least twenty years out of the era that they really belong in. Let's face it - the band name - hardly original, a Rodney Matthews album cover that looks as if it belongs in the 80's, and all those track titles which smack of the 80's. Am I complaining? Hell no. Where have these boys been? It's 2007 but it might as well be '1987' (don't mention Whitesnake..lol!). So with that in mind, it was easy to pitch these guys against yesteryear heroes. I detected a little bit of Roxus, Whitesnake (wasn't that obvious?), Rainbow and one or two others. Vocally, Harv Harbinson has a bit of Freddy Curci, Juno Roxas and David Coverdale about him, and I think generally he is an excellent talent. It's just that the songs are good - but not utterly brilliant.


The Songs
Some pulsing keyboards get us underway on the racy opener 'Spellbound', this one features everything really.. vocoders, Rainbow like organ runs, punchy guitars and stellar vocals. They keep it going on the organ/guitar dominated 'Hold Onto Her Love', one of the album highlights, where Harbinson gives his best Freddy Curci impression. Give the rabid rocker 'Nervous Breakdown' a wide steer, otherwise you might end up with one.. lol! Much better is the acoustic/electric 'Stranger Things Have Happened', crossing swords with Nelson and Harem Scarem. The track 'Crying In The Rain' starts out softly-softly, but by mid-stream this is easily a commercial radio rocker with loads of appeal. The wolf growls at the start of 'Call Of The Wild' is a bit silly, the song itself lyrically is an 80's cliche - which in 2007 seems wholly inappropriate. Damn, if this lot don't go and confuse even more with 'Beating Of A Heart' - this is AOR Central if I've ever heard! The Rainbow influence is apparent on 'New World', but the stomping back-beat is a bit heavier than Blackmore, Glover and co achieved. Stormzone keep it bright and upbeat with the infectious 'Tuggin' At My Heartstrings', but the over-emphasis on the chorus made it sickly sweet after a few minutes. However, the last pairing of 'Sky High' and 'Rock On Through The Night' settle things nicely - both a pair of powerful melodic rockers showcasing Harbinson's superior vocals.


In Summary
The overall Stormzone package is a little bit contrived I feel. I still think the band name is out of context with their music and image, so is the album cover. Initially, I was thinking this lot were closer to prog metal - so perceptions mean everything in this game. In Harv Harbinson, they have an excellent singer, and I'm sure in time, he could find a project that best suits his voice. However in the Irish hard rock export category, these guys beat fellow Guiness sippers Glyder hands down, but are a long way off the likes of Thin Lizzy and No Sweat. A good if not unspectacular debut effort, the next one might be worth a listen when they get around to it though.


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Comments
#1 | Rem1690 on April 08 2007 15:47:36
This is a great review of what I personally think is a very fine album by Irish rockers Stormzone. The only things I find unfair about the views expressed are the critisisms about the band being 20 years behind the times and them not being on par with the likes of Thin Lizzy. It's their first recording for God's sake, and having listened to Thin Lizzy's first album, well, it goes to show you improve with regular releases. The fact that the band are being critisised for sounding dated and employing the likes of Rodney Matthews for their cover art on a website which proudly calls itself 'Glory Daze', and therefore would have you believe it's all about bands playing classic music in a modern era is a bit of a contradiction. I applaud Stormzone for their efforts and for not trying to sound like thousands of other bands releasing albums at the minute that all sound similar to each other. Like yourself, I'm really looking forward to the band's second release, and if this one is anything to go by it promises to be excellent!
#2 | gdazegod on April 08 2007 20:30:12
Thanks for your comments there Rem1690. Well I did balance it out.. Some good, some not so good. The whole argument about being twenty years out in a timewarp was meant to be a compliment! I did say 'Am I complaining? Hell no!'. If you read many of our reviews, most of them are written with a sense of humor - unlike the bland Euro sites who are utterly humorless.

Yes, I take your point about a band like this appearing on a site like this. Perhaps some part of the review were harsh, I'll endeavour to be fairer next time.. but take nothing away from the band. I do believe there is exceptional promise here.
 
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