THE DEMO CORNER
When I last left Stonehaven they were just trying to get their feet in the door with their debut album Of Oak and Iron. At the time, they were developing their style of black metal, yet they didn’t quite have a clue where they were going with the music. Almost two years later, Stonehaven has returned with a new album in Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes. Yes, the album title does sound a little silly, but the music on the album shows just how much the band has improved.
From the album cover it is clear that Stonehaven worships the old, raw style of black metal, yet on Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes they also incorporate a slightly more refined sound to round out the rough edges. Songs such as “Sword Rape” and “Suffering the Swine Array” are, in many ways, a nod to the original style of black metal, and while there is so much temptation to veer towards the “modern” black metal sound Stonehaven avoids doing so, much to their benefit. Their ability to create an atmosphere has also improved from their first album, as evidenced by songs such as “Observe the Symbol” and “Addressing the Scorn Pole”. Vocalist Stephen Holdeman does a fair job of maintaining a consistency that is lacking in most bands nowadays, but it is the overall effort put forth by the band that makes Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes a worthwhile black metal album. There is no one outstanding aspect of the music, but sometimes a solid effort all around is better than just one or two aspects that can get lost in an aural sea of mediocrity.
Stonehaven is a band that has made remarkable strides in its musicianship and they haven’t even made their best work yet. Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes is a solid album that recalls some of the better early to mid-90’s black metal while adding their own spin on the music. No one aspect truly stands out, but everything works together to make an album worth quite a few listens.
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1. Suffering the Swine Array
2. Death Fetter
3. Of the White Fall and
4. Addressing the Scorn Pole
5. Coins Under Corpses
6. Cutting the Necks of
7. Sword Rape
8. Observe the Symbol
Total playing time: 58:50
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
Stonehaven - Concerning Old-Strife and Man-Banes
April 24, 2012