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Sandstone - 'Delta Viridian' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/8e/c5/5f/sandstone-delta-viridian-74-1388890099.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 05, 2014    
 
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I may be late to the party, but I really can't recommend Sandstone highly enough.

Much to my chagrin, I've never really paid that much attention to progressive/power metal quintet Sandstone before. Given that regular, almost uniformly favourable comparisons are made to the likes of Fates Warning, Vanden Plas, Queensryche and Pagan's Mind I can't really explain why either ("too much to listen to, too little time to do it in" perhaps my only defence), but hey, better late than never I guess. Anyway, enough of the distracting self-flagellation, let's move on shall we?

Founded a decade ago in Derry by guitarist Steve McLaughlin and vocalist Sean McBay, from the very beginning Sandstone chose to play only original material. A commendably brave move for any band, especially one taking those first tentative steps into the pitfall ridden world of music, but one that seems to have begun to reap somewhat handsome rewards for Sandstone in the longer term. The recently released 'Delta Viridian' is actually their fourth studio album thus far; and, if like me you're a sucker for progressively inclined power metal executed with a flamboyant dash of hard rockin' melodic suss thrown in, then it is most definitely an album you'll want to explore further at the earliest available opportunity!

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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A semi-conceptual tome based in part on Kurt Vonnegut's profound 'Cat's Cradle' masterpiece, it deftly combines the three major disciplines alluded to above in a delicious maelstrom of sound that should by rights appeal to fans of all three genre's. Classic late 80s / early 90s Fates Warning are an obvious first reference point, Queensryche less so (although there are the odd nuances here and there), but into the mix you can also throw a dash of Iron Maiden, a soupçon of Circus Maximus, and the odd nod towards everybody from Evergrey to Vanden Plas and back again. Sounds intriguing? ... you betcha!

As the moody intro 'Cat's Cradle' succumbs to the epic, rampaging juggernaut that is album opener proper 'Almost Grateful', you'll somehow find yourself transported back to the late 90s when the emerging progressive metal scene was at its creative zenith. Sassy, self-assured, swaggering ... all superlatives that ran through my mind as ever more engaging fare such as 'King Of Cipher', 'Monument', 'Red Mist' and 'Vitruvian Man' (complete with guest vocals from Ripper Owens) washed over my senses in a never ending series of vibrant aural explosions.

From the ground up (and by that I mean the rock solid rhythm section) everything about Sandstone just looks, feels and (perhaps more importantly) sounds right. The time changes are executed with the kind of precision you'd expect only from bands much higher up the food chain; the arrangements are considered and engineered to present the songs at their best, and the individual performances (including a great impassioned vocal from McBay) are superb!

I may be late to the party, but I really can't recommend Sandstone highly enough!

Dave Cockett

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