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Sounds | White Stones, Chain Of Command

Net wanneer je écht in 'komkommertijd' gaat geloven, komen enkele ouwe getrouwen op de proppen met klassemateriaal. Martin Mendez en zijn White Stones hebben nog maar net het knappe debuut Kuarahy (05/2020) achter de kiezen en daar zijn ze alweer met de opvolger. Zoals mijn collega destijds schreef, heeft Mendez teveel steengoed materiaal liggen en kon de band ermee aan de slag tijdens de pandemie. Chain Of Command laat meteen een evolutie in de sound horen: het blijft uiterst boeiende, strekke prog metal met death invloeden en jazzy tussenstukjes, maar de gitaren (Mendez speelt zelf de ritmegitaar en Joao Sasseti neemt de solo's voor zijn rekening) hebben het nodige smeersel gekregen zodat ze niet meer zo droog klinken en meekunnen met de ronduit fantastische ritmesectie. De metalwereld heeft er een nieuwe (sub)topper bij!

Dancing Into Oblivion verschijnt op 27 augustus via Nuclear Blast.


When WHITE STONES released »Kuarahy« they became the first Spanish band signed to Nuclear Blast Records, cementing their first album as an unprecedented milestone. Now, with »Dancing Into Oblivion«, the band returns with a more compact sound, having been hard at work ensuring the utmost attention to every detail for a result that is even better than the first record.

The topics covered on this second album draw on the feelings that Martín himself affirms he has lived through during the lockdown imposed by the covid-19 pandemic. “I started it very calmed in March when »Kuarahy« was released and the lockdown started. I wrote the new record and it just flowed so well. It’s my point of view, of the feelings I had during the lockdown period, in this weird year. I took advantage of the moment and I feel excited about it”, reveals the musician.

The emotional ups and downs that a situation like this generates are reflected on this record. As Méndez says “it’s a mix of feelings during the lockdown, feelings that go from fear to uncertainty as well as going through the confusion when you don’t know about the future and you feel almost as if time has stopped. Musicians might be the last who will be back to work and we don’t have any signs of a sooner return, which makes for a huge uncertainty. I have a family and I have to take care of them. This situation creates a feeling of discomfort which you can feel on the album”, he confesses, also adding that “otherwise it’s been nice having so much time at home with the family and those small and peaceful moments are also in the music. I’ve chosen to include some interludes between the songs so there is a higher contrast and it makes it easier to appreciate the different feelings throughout”.

The most outstanding musical elements on this new record are the disparate genres that manage to co-exist. There is an element of aggression, that can be seen rearing its head in an instrumental frenzy, as well as soft and delicate intricacies that develop an atmosphere which surrounds the listener. There are distinct dynamics among the songs, with interludes allowing the listening to take a breath and appreciate what they’re hearing.

Describing the type of music, Martín 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”. Whilst explaining this, Méndez recalls the writing process for this record “The first one I wrote was ‘Chain Of Command’, where I had the idea of writing more daring songs than on the previous record where I restricted myself and didn’t want to play anything too technical, I just wanted to create something that was easier on the ear. In this one I wanted to do something slightly more elaborate and technical, musically, to add some colour.

The first influence I had for ‘Chain Of Command’ was from a John Coltrane & Wilbur Harden album, while in ‘New Age Of Dark’ the influence came listening to Deicide, so the influences are really quite varied across this record”. Something the band were deliberately aiming for on this album was brevity. Vocalist Eloi Boucherie states how he and Méndez think “it’s better an album you want to listen to again, than a record you desire to finish before it ends” then “it leaves you wanting for more”.


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