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Stone Leaders: Stone Leaders

Stone Leaders happened purely by chance, as US drum veteran John Macaluso was contracted to do a drum clinic in Croatia back in 2016 and in need of some supporting musicians, and in entered bassist Marko Karacic & guitarist/vocalist Ivan Mihaljevic. The musicians really hit it off, and they eventually decided to form an actual band, eventually enlisting vocalist/keyboard player Dino Jelusic (Trans Siberian Orchestra, Animal Drive) to round out the line-up, and Stone Leaders was born. Though all the press materials label their self-titled debut as 'dark prog', I wouldn't say this very solid album is overly 'dark', but more an upbeat collection of melodic hard rock songs with some healthy prog & prog-metal flavors.

Macaluso's drum work is as impeccable as always, his busy style dynamically pulsing under some well thought out arrangements and textures from the rest of the band. Mihaljevic & Jelusic make a great vocal tandem, and overall the singing is top notch here, especially on such powerhouse tracks as "Box of Time" and "Fire Up the Oceans". In addition, Ivan delivers some truly impressive guitar passages throughout the album, not only the heavy riffing, but some blazing solos as well as ethnic Croatian elements, which you can hear on the melodic "Blind Crusade", supported by some fine synth tones. For some complex, adventurous prog, check out the intricate "Shot By Lies" and the groove laden "Heartless Stereo", Macaluso really digging deep on the latter. "Unearthly Designs" is another wild one, with cascades of shred guitar, dazzling keys, and complex rhythms, but saddled with plenty of catchy hooks.

It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by a new band, and that's exactly what happened here with the debut from Stone Leaders. Top notch musicianship, memorable songs, and fantastic's a winner folks!

Track Listing
01 Box Of Time 5:01
02 DV84U4ea 4:04
03 Fire Up The Oceans 4:58
04 Blind Crusade 5:58
05 Shot By Lies 4:26
06 Toxic Guide 5:37
07 Heartless Stereo 5:34
08 Unearthly Designs 5:41
09 Electric City 5:19
10 Ignited 4:50
11 Gravity 4:11
12 Seeker 6:04

Added: November 22nd 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2399
Language: english

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