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Stemm - 'Crossroads' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3e/2d/84/2421_stemmcrossroads_1340994316.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 29, 2012    
 
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For those who want some muscular metal and modern melodies.

This is an interesting one. Stemm have been on the scene since 1998, albeit with a number of line-up changes along the way. At heart, they’re a hardcore band, with singer Joe Cafarella screaming his angst filled lungs out. However, their new album ‘Crossroads’ marks a broadening of their sound and is easily their strongest album to date. Some may feel that the different styles they try on this disc might point to a band struggling with an identity crisis but I’d contest that it shows a band growing in confidence whose song writing has stepped up a level.

While opening tracks ‘Salvation’ and ‘Monster’ are fairly straight hardcore, it’s when they add some surprisingly robust melodies on ‘Fleur De Lis’ and especially ‘Dead Inside’ that Stemm demonstrate a side of themselves that could see the band connect with a whole new, wider audience. On these tracks they come across somewhere between Stone Sour, The New Black and even Nickelback (if Nickelback had chosen to go down an alt-metal route rather than the poppier direction they are currently going down). The ballad of sorts ‘Left Behind’ has another strong melody, while ‘What Do You think Of Me Now?’ and ‘Smile & Wave’ are heavier, and will keep those who like their more aggressive Pantera, ‘Hell Yeah!’ approach on board.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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It’s when they throw in a couple of previously untried ideas that the record shows their growing maturity. There’s a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Supernaut’ which works brilliantly; working its stoner groove, and it makes the retro track sound relevant for a new generation. It’s one of those rare cover versions that outstrips the original. High praise indeed when you’re talking about the mighty Sabbath. They then close the album with an ambitious ballad ‘After The Tide’. It has a strong Southern feel with an appropriate lengthy solo, part Lynryd Skynryd and part Black Stone Cherry. It’s a song you wouldn’t have envisaged Stemm tackling in the past.

Stemm have come to the crossroads and, for those who want some muscular metal and modern melodies, it looks like they’ve chosen the correct path.

Duncan Jamieson

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