12 STONES – Picture Perfect (Album Review)

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12 Stones have returned after a 5-year hiatus with Picture Perfect on new label Cleopatra Records.

The band now clearly represents the modern face of rock and metal; presentable and without a hint of sleaze, dirt, offense or even mild threat. Parents won’t reel when they hear this music coming from their offsprings’ bedrooms and ground them indefinitely.

Having said all that, Picture Perfect has great merit. It is a solid album with enough variety to keep me interested and is laden with guitar solos often found lacking on many a modern metal record.

The Louisiana quartet begins with a trio of hard rockers in “The Killer”, “Blessing” and “Voodoo Doll”, each containing fitting solos courtesy of Eric Weaver.

Much lauded vocalist Paul McCoy then takes things down a notch or two with the thoughtful “Nothing To Say” complete with another great solo.

It’s back to hard rock and “Time” which rattles along on the back of crunching riffs and powerful vocals. Hot on its heels comes the title track, which slightly loses momentum due to the formulaic nature of the track and trudgy feel.

The modern feel is now very much to the fore with “Save Yourself”. We have the obligatory powerful verse or two, then the quiet contemplative section followed by the booming chorus. See Linkin Park for template.(R.I.P. Chester).

“Lerlene” is more up my alley, a traditional ballad with heartfelt vocals and emotive guitaring. Despite its ballad status it still possesses power and feeling in abundance. My favorite track on the album.

“Memphis” didn’t really light my fire although, once again, a quality solo was present.

“Hey Man” begins with a Maiden-esque riff which maintains the thread throughout this heavier song and yep, you guessed it, top solo in attendance.

12 Stones – modern. Pic courtesy of 313eg.com

“How Long” can be glossed over but then we’re treated to “Hello Suicide”. This acoustic track tackles the most delicate of subjects, especially at this time. It is quite the tearjerker.

Normal service is resumed with “Anthem For The Underdog” although again it feels a bit trudgy.

Finally, we come to “We Are One” which is a cracking way to end the album. It has melody in shit loads, power, pace and plenty to sing along to. The perfect feel-good ending.

Overall, the album is a success, with the slower songs hitting the spot more than the others. Welcome back, boys!

BUY: PICTURE PERFECT

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