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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Incoming: Wicked Stone album no.2

 


Wicked Stone are back with their second album, ‘Synergy’ - set for physical and digital worldwide release through Hard to Stay Quiet Records on 17th June 2022.
Taking their core sound and rigging it to explode with heavier, harder-hitting riffs, soaring anthemic choruses and blistering guitar solos Wicked Stone deliver stadium- sized, hard-rock anthems with power, energy, and excitement. 

Formed in 2015 and dropping ‘Ain’t No Rest’ in 2017; a debut loaded with chunky riffs, cheeky hooks and catchy choruses, which referenced touchstones of classic rock but with an unmistakable modern edge to deliver a hugely melodic yet hard-hitting statement of intent from a hungry band ready to make their mark.   2019 saw the release of a brand new 5-track EP ‘Devil In Me’, showcasing an evolution in the band’s sound. Lead single ‘Unchained’ racked up tens of thousands of listens on Spotify, quickly becoming a fan favourite with its soaring vocals and crushing riffs. 

Wicked Stone’s live performances have established the band as one of the UK’s hottest upcoming acts. Mixing solid, powerful performances with a good time. Their rock’n’roll swagger ensures Wicked Stone shows are fun, exhilarating, and unforgettable. Their ability to win over audiences exemplified in their acclaimed appearances at ‘Ramblin’ Man Fair’, ‘Hard Rock Hell’ and ‘Winters End’ festivals. Not forgetting a recently lauded opening slot for Steve Harris’ British Lion. 

Wicked Stone’s sound is built around the edgy, melodic, and soaring vocals of Joe Hawx, under-pinned by hard-hitting drummer Olly Smith - a drummer that has spent time touring the world, opening for Iron Maiden as a member of the Lauren Harris band alongside Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. A line-up change in 2019 saw original Wicked Stone members Joe and Olly collide with lead guitarist Dave Austin, and the monster one-two combo of Joe Davies’ crunching guitars and Tom Lane’s gargantuan bass. This new collaboration created a sum bigger than its parts, inspiring the album-title ‘Synergy’. 
The new album grabs the listener from the outset with lead single ‘Say Goodbye to Yesterday’, a blistering rocker with a chorus likely to be stuck in your head for weeks. Joe Hawx sounds huge on this new record, having clearly matured and evolved vocally and lyrically. He is found at his best on the anthemic and contemplative, ‘Now You’re Gone’ - musically a departure for the band yet guaranteed to become a fan favourite. Dave Austin brings the fire with rip-roaring guitar solos and fierce twin guitar harmonies on songs such as ‘It’s Not Enough’ and ‘Going Wild’. Joe Davies and Tom Lane deliver the thunder on ‘Not Alone’, and what looks set to become a live favourite, ‘Broken Heartbeat’. Olly bulldozes through the album like a mechanised behemoth, a formidable driving force in ‘Reclaim the Crown’ yet restrained and musical on the emotive, ‘The Fires Burn’. 

‘Synergy’ is set to drop like an anvil crashing through your living room ceiling, make sure to catch the band on tour and experience the live juggernaut that is Wicked Stone! In the seven years that followed, Sergeant Thunderhoof have amassed a rich and varied back catalogue including 3 studio albums, a live full length, an epic split LP with Howling Giant, numerous compilation appearances for the likes of Ripple Music and Magnetic Eye Records and even a surprise tribute to Kate Bush. With the momentum firmly on their side, the band entered 2020 with a number of tours and releases planned including the follow up to their 2018 LP ‘Terra Solus’. 

 

When the world turned upside down in March 2020, all touring, writing and recording plans were thrown out of the window and the band were collectively forced to rethink their entire working relationship. At the tail end of 2020, they began collecting their ideas, riffs and rough recordings to begin work on the next album. What transpired was an epic 68 minutes of huge riffs, introspective atmospherics and melancholic yet uplifting melodies.

 

Recorded with Josh Gallop (Phoxjaw) at Stage 2 Studios in Bath and mastered by Tony Reed (Mos Generator), This Sceptred Veil sees the band explore darker and denser territory than their previous albums.

 

Speaking about the album, vocalist and lyricist Dan Flitcroft says, “I decided early on that I wanted to explore the rich history of our surrounding area in the South West of England, whilst incorporating the story of ‘The Sergeant’ which we have been cultivating since the very start of the band. Right from the debut record ‘Zigurat’ I was keen to introduce the idea that the name of our band represented a mythical, time travelling figure which could help inspire new ideas and themes. When the Pandemic hit, it forced me and my family to make more use of our immediate environment, and we are so lucky in our part of the world to have such amazing history and sights on our doorstep. I researched many mythical, semi-factual stories regarding the ancient history of England (Avalon), amongst some fantastical tales revolving around the idea of the Biblical figure of Christ.

 

I’m particularly pleased with ‘This Sceptred Veil’ as it feels, at least to me, like a rich and focussed body of work. The finale of Avon & Avalon Parts 1 & 2 which close the album really capture the darkness, light, paranoia, fear and redemptive qualities of which we were all feeling throughout the pandemic. I always steer clear of politics or current events in our music as we like to keep everything in the world of The Hoof. However, listening back now, I can certainly hear a lot of the cynicism, sadness, hope and decay of my life at the time. I think the pandemic forced me to confront my own mortality and perceived failings. Now I am a Father, it occurred to me that my actions have profound consequences on those around me."

 

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