You may remember Stoneghost by their previous moniker Snakebite; the latter of which made a huge name for themselves a few years ago by opening Bloodstock Festival in 2009 and 2010 and went on a bit of a tear at Wacken Open Air as well as Hammerfest. However, since deciding that Snakebite would be best reserved as a thing of the past has allowed room for the project known as Stoneghost – which actually less so bears resemblance to everything that Snakebite did but rather acts as an intimidating evolution act capable of doubling their impact.
Stoneghost’s most redeeming quality is their capability in executing ferocious riffs to excess, whereby the excess itself on New Age of Old Ways is never exhausted. The riffs are aggressive and mosh-worthy, hence the perfect suitability for festival antics. They have the presence of a hybrid of Mastodon, Corrosion Of Conformity and Pantera, whilst retaining an edge of just about every band who has always dished out belters both on record and live.
Vocally, Jason Smith brings the razor-sharp guttural vitality of a Brian Fair of Shadows Fall and Chad Gray of Mudvayne/Hellyeah, whilst retaining a booming melodic brink circa Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust. His alternating of styles enhances their straight-up, in-your-face textures of their songs that are permeated with nifty hooks and grooves at every turn.
If we are going to judge New Age of Old Ways by anything, it is that it is comprised of a varied collection of skilfully written material in the wake of a change in direction from the days of Snakebite. Stoneghost have crafted a dense, heavy assortment of substance that identifies with them as musicians that collectively makes this the album most closely resembling who they are as individuals and as a band. Passionate, yet effective in all corners.
Chances are that fans looking for anything excessive technical or progressive may seek better fortunes elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to warrant a fix within this album. It’s more balls-heavy than anything else, but with doses and flavours of most great music, it makes New Age of Old Ways a great experience.
1. Faceless Ghost
2. Devil’s Motion
3. All They Need Is The Light
4. Second To Breathe
5. The Sound Remains
8. Your Trigger My Finger
9. Third Degree
10. Let Sleeping Beasts Lie
11. Mother Of All Bastards (Demo)
Jason Smith – Vocals
Andrew Matthews – Guitar
Jamie Nash – Bass
Cris Finniss – Drums