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|Stargazery - Stars Aligned (2015) Album Review|| |
Stargazery - Stars Aligned (2015)
Pure Legend Records/Pure Steel Promotion/Sure Shot -- Running Time: 50:05
'Stars Aligned' is the second album from Finnish Melodic Heavy Metal band Stargazery and I was very pleased to see this arrive in my in-box because their sound is based around the Dio/Rainbow/Sabbath/Alcatrazz mould, which of course is right up my street, but after listening to this many times I have to say I'm a tad disappointed with the end result! 'Stars Aligned' is very much an album of two halves and nowhere near the "masterpiece" that the Press Release would have you believe!
As far as the positive side of things go 'Voodoo' is a good opener, has a Dio (the band) and Jorn Lande vibe and sets the album up well. Likewise, following track 'Angel Of The Dawn', which is one of two standout compositions on the album, has all the requisite bombast and contains a chorus that could quite easily have been written and sung by Graham Bonnet in his earlier days. 'Invisible' is also a great track which has a Rainbow/Blackmore/Deep Purple feel. Former MSG vocalist Jari Tiura has a powerful, melodic voice, perfectly suited to this style of music. Pete Ahonen plays fluidly without resorting to Malmsteen style wankery and Marco Sneck's keyboard sound and soloing is fabulous and reminds me of Tony Carey and Jon Lord! 'Stars Aligned' also has a good and unstuffy production!
That all sounds pretty good doesn't it, so why you ask am I not so happy? Well, the answer to that lies in the consistency of the songwriting. After a bright start the album dips considerably from the very cheesy 'Academy Of Love' onwards! That and the following four tracks are cliché filled slabs of mediocrity, musically and lyrically, that really sound like they should have been left on the cutting room floor and that you've heard a thousand times before but much better! 'Hiding' in particular sounds like the band just completely run out of ideas and is only very partially saved by a jaunty chorus! It doesn't matter how many times I listen to those five tracks, I get to them and the album turns into a bore, which is a terrible shame, especially as Stargazery then end 'Stars Aligned' on a high note!
'Warrior's Inn' starts to pick things up with a Thin Lizzyish Celtic guitar sound and a chorus straight out of the Rhapsody songbook. It might be familiar sounding track but it's a big improvement on the previous few and then we get two versions of the same song 'Dark Lady', sung in English and 'Tumma Nainen', which is sung in Finnish and it's easily the best song on offer on 'Stars Aligned'. Once again the Rhapsody comparisons come to mind, even more so when it's sung in the bands native language, it's tremendously catchy and I'm assuming it is the keyboards that provide the string/violin sounds which work extremely well. I know the Finnish version is only a bonus track on some formats but it would have made sense for Stargazery to split the two up and put one version earlier on in the running order!
When Stargazery do it well, then they do it very well, but the lack of strong songs has let me down and I can only reflect that in my score!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley: