With roots in the Eighties melodic hard rock band Whitelight, Sweden's Stone Lake delivers its fourth album with Uncharted Souls. But instead of following in the sonic direction of previous releases, which were well-versed in the classic-rock sounds of Bad Company, Whitesnake and Van Halen, this quartet — led by vocalist Peter Grundström and guitarist/keyboardist Jan Akesson — seems to have spent a lot of time listening to Edguy lately.
Grundström's voice bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Tobias Sammet, and many of the dozen songs here (including two bonus tracks on the version we received) could have landed on an Edguy or Avantasia release. Akesson, meanwhile, possesses impressive command of his instruments and gives majestic performances as noteworthy for their restraint as their power.
Although, less polished and with fewer hooks, Stone Lake confidently struts that line between melodic metal and classic rock by making loud, heavy and slightly sleazy music. And while there's nothing on Uncharted Souls that will strike listeners as particularly memorable, this is the sound of a band hitting its stride — realizing what works, what doesn't and charting a course for where it goes next.
1) Uncharted Souls
2) Pain and Hunger
3) (Tonight) You're Beyond the Shadows
5) Glory Days
6) Don't Leave Me Behind
7) Rockin' Down the Walls
9) Eyes of the World
10) White Flame
11) Saint or Evil (Bonus Track)
12) Wonderland (Bonus Track)