Take a second and say hello to an unfamiliar face, but one that will be very recognizable in the nearing future. This visage is 12 Stones, the latest signee to somewhat wet behind the ears Wind Up Records. A foursome of 20-something gentlemen hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, they are said to be filled with anger, passion, energy, heroics, and spirit. With a self-titled debut release, produced by Jay Baumgardner (Papa Roach, Drowning Pool, Alien Ant Farm), let's see if what's being said is really true.
When Wind Up contacted me to review their latest musical acquisition, I jumped at the chance. I have cultivated much admiration for the extremely gifted label that has turned the mediocre sounds of Creed into a Platinum-selling mainstay for almost every household worldwide, and taking into account bands such as Drowning Pool and Finger Eleven, which are only beginning to make waves in the industry.
Getting things started is the weighty alt rock sound of "Crash" which almost mimics, at times, lead singer Paul McCoy's vocals to Scott Stapp of Creed or Aaron Lewis of Staind. "Broken," the first single off their debut, has nothing but radio play stamped all over it while "The Way I Feel" brings an ascending anthem that battles the task of finding God when everything's gone wrong. "Open Your Eyes" and "Home," are next, and dabble as two weakly manufactured sounds that aren't even worth mentioning.
"Fade Away" brings a strange appealing mix contradictory to the forefront of the album setting away the screams and adding a speck of falsetto though enticing a tiny rap bridge that could easily have been left in the garbage where belonged. "Back Up" is a short attempt at cock rock probing for that straight edge Iggy Pop appeal as "Soulfire" begins reminiscent of Korn and Limp Bizkit but ends as a genuine song of praise. "Running Out Of Pain," the immediate highlight adds a moody rising resonance that won't be leaving your head anytime soon. Ending things is "My Life," a song that will be on the soundtrack of the upcoming The Scorpion King movie soundtrack (starring The Rock), that cuffs a straight edge defining crowd pleaser.
It took me a while to swallow this down, as I've been out of the radio savvy for a rather good while. But after a few repeated listens, the songs welded their tiny melodies into my mind, and only brought along recurring plays. But dissimilar to before, I wasn't forced to listen; I wanted to. What I found was, for the most part, very well produced Spiritual tracks of uplifting alternative melodic (sometimes hardcore) modern rock. Any fan of Creed, Adema, Default, Tantric, and Stavesacre should definitely pick this up and while you're getting this LP, be sure to check out 12 Stones on an upcoming tour with Creed.
There's no denying that 12 Stones has all the pieces to be the next big thing in popular music. Where they go with it, I do not know, but I do know the doors are open, all they need to do is step forward. Be sure to pick up 12 Stone's debut album now, before you see them on MTV, before you hear them all over the radio, and even before your friends think it's cool.- Review date: 3/21/02, written by Blake Garris
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