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Articles Home » 2011 Articles » Slaves To Fashion - 2011 Artistic Differences
 
Slaves To Fashion - 2011 Artistic Differences



ARTIST: Slaves To Fashion
ALBUM: Artistic Differences
LABEL: Hands Of Blue Records
SERIAL: HOB-002
YEAR: 2011
SPONSOR: Torfinn Sirnes

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Johannes Støle - vocals * Torfinn Sirnes - guitars * Vidar Ingvaldsen - drums * Lohn Lind - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love You Back * 02 Mrs Hero * 03 Made To Meet My Eyes * 04 Superstar (I Want Out) * 05 Empty Chairs * 06 Hands * 07 Left Out In The Cold * 08 Out Of Here * 09 Libido Ride * 10 Facts On The Ground

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.slavestofashion.net


Background
Slaves To Fashion (a.k.a STF) might be a new name to some, but their presence has been felt here at GD for some years under the alternative guises of previous band names Orange Crush and P:O:B (Pedestrians Of Blue). From Norway, we've described them previously as an intriguing blend of progressive metal and pop/rock. How does that work btw? I'm unsure, but I think we did raise this question before in an earlier review, and so it comes home to roost yet again, though this new incarnation has gotten heavier by the sounds of things. STF took the new name around 2008, and consummated their renaming with the release of their debut EP the following year. The new/latest album 'Artistic Differences' making it to the public domain in Feb 2011. Despite their low-profile presence in recent years, it still appears that Dream Theater have a hypnotic hold on many outfits plying the progressive metal path: STF being one of them. STF's media releases imply that they are the antithesis to fashionable music, but that would be like poking a stick in the eye of a prog metal fan, most of whom can tell a fib from a hundred yards or more. A bit like preaching to the converted perhaps? To my way of thinking, yes there is a bit of DT in the mix, but not enough to kill off my enthusiasm. The major issue for me though is that it's difficult to pigeon-hole this lot into any one genre. They sit on the outer-fringe of prog-metal, they are not exactly welcomed into the house of pop/rock and the melodic rock/AOR community will probably look at them funny. This is not a criticism, just an observation. However, what's clear is that what STF do, they do well. Now signed to German label Hands Of Blue Records, they have long-time fan Frank Jaeger to thank for their reimaging and CD release.


The Songs
It's a hardened sound that greets us courtesy of the opener 'Love You Back', the prog metal style reading like a road-map and who's who of the genre. Admittedly, that would mean that originality is not part of the equation, but in this genre it's hard to sound original given the plethora of acts/artists that are currently doing the rounds. 'Mrs Hero' takes STF in a hard rock direction, thanks to the song structure and thickened guitar riffs. There is a definite hint of DT on 'Made To Meet My Eyes', that much is obvious, however it's the groovy nature of 'Superstar (I Want Out)' that appeals more for me, an album highlight thus far. Tinkly bells introduce 'Empty Chairs', an introspective ballad with some deeper than deep moments to contend with, but it all comes together in a crushing merger of drums and guitars by songs end. 'Hands' is a stop/start affair combining staccato like guitar work alongside restrained passages in the bridge/chorus section. 'Left Out In The Cold' is perhaps the album's second heaviest moment, Stirnes' guitar rock solid and brutal on this one even though there is some brief respite on the verses. 'Out Of Here' is the album's quiet moment, taking on an orchestral like quality throughout, the repeating bass line acting as the metronome in the absence of a heavy back-beat of drums. 'Libido Drive' is for me the album's best and heaviest song, though it has a heap of melody in among the guitar bluster, it's more hard rock than prog metal. The 10 minute finale 'Facts On The Ground' could quite rightly be tagged with the DT brush, but to be honest, there are other reference points too. It's a slowish form of prog that is played in its traditional sense, so in that regard, the album is completed with what is rightly the most adventurous and progressive outing on the CD.


In Summary
I'll be the first to say that Norway is one of my favourite countries for being the home to many of my favourite artists. Really, I should go and live up there! But, the cold weather, the big taxes and the recent mass shooting up there has kinda scared me off. Nevertheless, I can always visit via the Internet, and take in the sights and new sounds with a degree of safety. With Slaves To Fashion, the name might suggest glam metal or some such, but it's a technical brand of progressive metal with commercial leanings that is the name of the game here. Of further interest, singer Johannes Støle is now also involved with the band/project XorigiN in combination with old MIT classmate Daniel Palmqvist (Murder Of My Sweet), who have their latest 2011 album 'State Of The Art' released through Frontiers. In the meantime, investigate STF if a lighter, technical and melodic brand of progressive metal is your bag, and where genre-categorising is completely thrown out the window!


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#1 | gdazegod on September 03 2011 14:25:58
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#2 | rkbluez on September 03 2011 17:44:34
Great CD really like this band...they have their own unique style...to me they're more progressive hard rock than metal...either way...great CD.
 
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