There is a thriving hard rock scene in the UK at the moment. Hell’s Addiction, Gin Annie and Trucker Diablo are just a few bands that come to mind. Now add Wicked Stone to the list, because this relatively new band knows their way around the riff.
Following up their 2017 debut album, Ain’t No Rest, is the hard rock quintets “Devil In Me” EP, and it wastes no time in firing up. Opening with “Couldn’t Take Anymore”, Wicked Stone kick things off in high gear. The riffs are relentless, the rhythm section is pummelling, the lead guitar is blistering and the vocals from Joe Hawx sound like a pissed off Myles Kennedy. All that, plus it’s catchy and infectious. This track is everything that I love in hard rock music.
“Unchained” eases back on the pummelling and blistering to a degree, and injects a healthy dose of groove in its place. This is still very riff driven, but has less of an anthemic feel to the first track. This is not a diss, it’s still a very solid trackthat offers up more feeling.
Next up is “Keep Fighting”. This is a fist pumping, foot stomping track with a touch of attitude. I’m loving the guitar work from Joe Davies and Dave Winchester – they seem to know just what to play, and when to play it. Nothing too showy, it’s all for the greater good of the songs. Likewise for “Saviour” – arguably, there’s nothing that hasn’t already been done before in rock music, but when it’s done this well, it distracts you from the subtle similarities.
“Devil In Me” is the closing number, and it’s a ripping way to leave the listener on a high note. This is energetic and vibrant music, that pays homage to its influences, while also being modern and fresh.
Clocking in at only twenty minutes in duration, this is an EP not to miss. Wicked Stone have a great future ahead of them.
Review by Shayne McGowan.