stOrk's second album Broken Pieces has one glaring difference to their progressive metal predominantly instrumental predecessor, now with the addition of a female lead vocalist, plus the band has also recruited a new bass player Kelly Lemieux (Buckcherry/Goldfinger). Guitarist Shane Gibson(ex. Korn) and seriously talented drummer Thomas Lang formed stOrk in 2010 and they have returned with another scintillating album.
The addition of VK Lynne on vocals hasn't seen the band's complex music vanish, stOrk are still a dark, melodic, powerful and technical modern act if anything they have just opened the door to a wider audience. I'm a big fan of instrumental albums so their wonderful self titled debut filled with technical virtuosity was a great find, but that's not everyone's cup of tea as some maybe found it simply too demanding. The vocals are done in a way so that everything gels together adding to the appeal, without the need to overly limit their playing and it works a treat making Broken Pieces a more accessible album. Also worth mentioning is that getting the album to the release stage wasn't the most straightforward of processes, as stOrk went on a fundraising campaign to enable Broken Pieces' completion and to stOrks credit it was a success.
We are introduced to the vocals of VK Lynne straight from the start of title track "Stork", with similar a style to what you would hear from the female vocalists of groups like Lacuna Coil or Evanescence. This track is such a tempo shifter and the ending sounds awesome as Thomas's feet keep pace with Shane's blazing guitar work. "Pillow Person" is Broken Pieces' super cool number, with Thomas's great groove and Shane's stellar guitar input this song works so well on all levels as does "Bat", a song that allows VK Lynne freedom to shine before that gripping heavy groove kicks in and the talents of bass player Kelly Lemieux's are also brought into spotlight. Tracks such as "Heretic" and "Chainsaw Serenade" where Thomas shows once again what a monster drummer he is are more proof that stOrk are amongst the most talented musicians on the planet. And Shane Gibson doesn't just impress on guitar as "Given Away" has additional vocals from Shane and he does a fine job.
Sadly and at only 35 years old Shane Gibson passed away in April of this year before stOrk's latest was released. So besides being a fantastic album with more jaw dropping performances Broken Pieces takes on an extra special meaning, and is a fine tribute to Shane's outstanding guitar work.
2. Pillow Person
5. Paper Angels
6. Chainsaw Serenade
8. Given Away
12. How Old Are You
13. Broken Pieces