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Articles Home » 2009 Articles » Coldspell - 2009 Infinite Stargaze
Coldspell - 2009 Infinite Stargaze

ARTIST: Coldspell
ALBUM: Infinite Stargaze
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Niclas Swedentorp - lead vocals * Michael Larsson - guitars, backing vocals * Matti Eklund - keyboards, backing vocals * Tommi Partanen - bass * Tobbe Brostrom - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Keep On Believing * 02 Solid Ground * 03 Raving Mad * 04 Eye Of The Storm * 05 Straight Things Out * 06 Night Falls * 07 Fade Away * 08 Greed * 09 Shot Down * 10 All I Want * 11 Surrounded * 12 Infinite Stargaze



These days, UK record label Escape Music seems to receive very little recognition of their releases in the mainstream melodic rock/AOR community (call it that if you may). Not that they are doing a bad job, my guess is they are keeping their releases to a tight rein, and releasing them on the basis of quality rather than quantity.. the latter being something they could have been accused of in the past. Not so now. The last few years have seen some interesting releases from the label. Some worked, some didn't. It remains to be seen whether new Swedish boys Coldspell will sink or swim in this latest batch of 2009 releases, but I think these boys will be safe, equipped with life jackets to handle life on the stormy waters of media and publicity. The band appear to come from the progressive metal crossover arena and into the melodic rock camp. Bands to have accomplished that in more recent times have been fellow Swedes Cloudscape, Seventh Wonder and to a lesser degree UK band Threshold. 'Infinite Stargaze' upon first listen is pretty heavy, but they are damned good! This is not some 'instant coffee' variety of music. Oh no, this is quality stuff which needs to be absorbed nice and slow to appreciate its full potential. Singer Niclas Swedentorp has a similar style to Italian Marco Sandron, from quality prog metallers Pathosray (who incidentally have signed on with Frontiers Records for their upcoming second album.. woah!) and Tommy Karevik from Seventh Wonder, while keyboardist Matti Eklund has obviously listened to Jon Lord, Don Airey and other rock organ players of that same generation. Coldspell has been in business since 2005, formed by guitarist Michael Larsson who was previously a member of the band R.A.W which contained members of Dalton and The Poodles.

The Songs
Though the current media and PR material for this band compare them to 80's AOR outfits, to my ears they sound far heavier than that. The opening duo for instance ('Keep On Believing' and 'Solid Ground') are heavy as horses metal, the latter in particular has some severe guitar riffing from Larsson, and double kick drumming from Brostrom. Third track in 'Raving Mad' features Eklund's organ playing more prominently, sounding somewhat like Brazen Abbot. The heavy presence is maintained for 'Eye Of The Storm', a prog metal excursion. Whoever described this band in AOR terms needs their head read! The closest they get to such comparisons is the Gotthard flavoured 'Straight Things Out', but still, it's no lightweight affair. The ballad 'Night Falls' meanders into Dream Theater territory, Niclas Swedentorp taking on a James LaBrie persona. 'Fade Away' continues the heavier approach, growling guitar riffs and power house performances elsewhere. 'Greed' is further confirmation that Coldspell lie at the prog metal end of the spectrum, as does 'Shot Down' which has a darker theme to its sound. Coldspell rip into a blues tinged affair with 'All I Want', again a heavier version of Gotthard being a good example. Swedentorp has got the Steve Lee vocal thing happening on 'Surrounded', which again has Gotthard references, especially when you add in Eklund's organ sound. Finishing up with the leadweight title track 'Infinite Stargaze', the band never take the foot off the throat, keeping things weighed down with thick sounding guitars and a battering ram for a rhythm section.

In Summary
Some great tracks on this debut CD. Don't be fooled by the fact that this CD is released on a (predominantly) AOR label. This is prog metal heavy for the most part, but in saying that, I reckon that die-hard prog metal fans might find Coldspell too melodic and sugar sweet for their fickle tastes. Coldspell only deliver the one ballad, but mostly if you like it heavy then 'Infinite Stargaze' will definitely appeal. Fans of Seventh Wonder, Threshold (on the heavier stuff) and Gotthard (on the lighter stuff) will find a lot to enjoy. Spend some time with it, and you'll appreciate what this band are all about.

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#1 | Jez on April 08 2009 02:50:15
WOW - This whacks you in the chops on first spin, what a great sounding disc. First and umpteen subsequent spins later and I am with alot of the reviews I have read on this one, that being there are some really cool tunes on here.There is a nice variation between the more Traditional 80's melodic rock/metal stuff on some and a more modern, contemporary approach on others. That being said, I also have to say that over the hours playing time and the 12 songs that you get on here, there isn't one that I would describe as a total killer track - loads of goodies for sure, but it just lacks the one or two knockout punches that would raise this one a notch or two from the good/very good, to the Excellent mark. Maybe next time, as this is definitley a very promising start indeed.
#2 | swazi on December 23 2009 23:31:42
Congrats, Jez, fellow AOR mafiosi! Once again we agree with each other! :-) A really, really good release. Those of you who love AOR should not believe all that crap that's being written ...
#3 | gdazegod on April 12 2010 04:24:14
Comparing Cold Spell to Blanc Faces is like comparing oil to water. They are reviewed in the context of their genres, of which both bands are miles apart. Bear that in mind CW.
#4 | reyno-roxx on March 01 2013 19:23:23
Bit late to the party on this band. Picked up this and the second album in the past week. I would've certainly raved about this band in the old Importz pages of 'Kerrang!' if these had been released back then. Very, very good stuff.
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