White Stones
Dancing Into Oblivion

2020’s Kuarahy caught me completely by surprise. It really hit the spot at the time, despite it not staying in my rotation for the entire year. It was a great debut for White Stones, and I recall it scratched… a certain… itch. Anyway, let’s check out their new one, which upon first listen certainly sounds a little, shall we say, proggier?

It would be very easy for White Stones to just rest on their Opeth-ian roots but being that their first album had that distinct earlier Opeth feel, yet faded away from my listening somewhat quickly, this new one was going to need more staying power and originality in order for it to attain high marks from me.

The first thing I noticed when listening is that the master is really quiet. After the intro, the first real track, “New Age of Dark,” kicks in, and I had to reach for the volume knob (metaphorically, as I was using my iPod and there is no knob). However, if you were expecting something radically different from the debut, you’re not going to get it on the first offering. That familiar rumble is present and frontman Eloi Boucherie has a little more character to his roar this time. In the latter half the track, there’s a blast beat section, which wouldn’t have been too in character for the frequently mentioned band of whom Martin Méndez is a part.

Track 3, “Chain of Command,” has a little more going for it, but doesn’t abandon that familiar rumble/groove. So far, I’m picking up what they’re putting down, but I’m still searching for something a little different.

Well, then comes track 4, “Iron Titans.” When one looks at the track playing and realizes it’s over 9 minutes, it’s time to take a deep breath and strap in (or strap on, depending on your preference). While this track is still death metal and the leads are no doubt solid, the highlight comes from the drum performance by Jordi Farré. It has a distinct improvisational jazz feel, and it’s reason to listen to this track alone.

Moving on to the end of the album, “Freedom in Captivity,” is predictably a bit on the longer side, being that it’s the final “real track,” as the real final strain, called “Acacia (I’ll be here all week),” is simply an instrumental. An extended intro takes up the first two-and-a-half minutes of the former before growls interrupt the serenity, and we have a track that honestly, sounds quite a bit like the rest on offer here. So…

All of you come to my reviews for honesty and hopefully a chuckle, right? I know I do. So, here’s the honest part: I’m not that into this. It’s kind of “meh” for me. If you’re looking for that old Opeth sound, you’ve come to the right place, but the difference is that Opeth was, and some believe still are quite special. They had a sound, but continuously progressed from and expanded upon it. Unfortunately, I just don’t see that here. Sorry, no chuckles.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
August 26th, 2021

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