White Stones – Dancing Into Oblivion

White Stones might be a band that has almost been defined by the pandemic. Due to unfortunate timing the release of the bands first album Kuarahy coincided with the global lockdown. Although perhaps a silver lining of the global inertia over the last 18 months is that it has given Martin Méndez and the rest of the band the opportunity to craft another fine album.

As the long-time bass player of Swedish progressive metal outfit Opeth, Martin’s project White Stones is quite a departure from the Opeth sound, and this second album “Dancing Into Oblivion” builds on the sounds on Kuarahy, with a more elaborate and technical feel..

The album is available on August 27th from Nuclear Blast Records

I am far from an expert on the nuances on Death Metal, but even for those not into the genre this is an easily accessible album that would be enjoyed by all metal fans.

Martín himself says “it’s difficult to define the style of this album. I don’t like to tag the music. This is metal for me. It has elements of my interpretation of death metal but it has other, conscious influences from other genres too. It shows me as musician and displays my music taste within the restlessness of trying to do something different”.

The topics covered on the album draw influences from the experiences that Martin has had through the crisis. Given the global scale of the problems it has caused it is easy to identify with the themes of confusion and uneasiness that permeate the album.

The writing of the album was far from a one-person affair. The lyrics were developed by vocalist Eloi Boucherie, with Martin penned the instrumentals, leaving other sections of the tracks to be interpreted by other members of the band. This collaborative effort is likely responsible for the diverse set of tracks included.

The brooding menace of the opener La Menace, is a perfect metaphor of the pandemic. The album also contains some solid aggression as shown on “New Age of Dark” and “To Lie or To Die”. My personal favourite is Iron Titans almost nine minutes of pure dark joy, whilst the aptly named Freedom in Captivity perfectly captures the frustration of the last 18 months.

In short this is going to be something to look forward to.

If you want to get a taster of the album then check out the video for Chain of Command.

For this album the band’s line-up has been enhanced with the participation of Joan Carles Marí Tur on drums (who also plays in other bands like FACE THE MAYBE). The guitar solos were the job of Joao Sassetti (who was already a member of the touring line-up of WHITE STONES). Sassetti who lives in Portugal couldn’t be in the studio in Barcelona, so he recorded his solos and digitally sent them over for integration into the final songs.

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