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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nati Sound Reviews

Band: Stoning Mary
Album: 2010 Demo
Reviewer: Mike Heffron

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    I’ve been an avid fan of 90’s alternative music since I started high school way back in 2004. There is a special quality about grunge rock that struck a chord (musician pun) with me at that time in my life. Sadly, true grunge was long “dead” by the time I discovered its greasy corpse. At least that’s what I thought, but little did I know there was a band right here in Cincinnati carrying on the torch of the 90s alternative spirit. Their name is Stoning Mary and they’ve been rocking together since 2006. Late last year, Stoning Mary released a 4-song demo to display their new vision and sound. They were kind enough to send us a copy for review here at Nati Sound.

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    “Lay you down, I’ll lay you out, one thing’s for sure, it’s gonna hurt!” vocalist Eric wails to start off the song “Black Ice”, the first track on the demo. A maelstrom of distorted guitars and a thunderous rhythm section fill out the dark atmosphere of Stoning Mary’s style. “Our sound is generally heavy with the ability to pull-back in both volume and style. We value our freedom to explore and refuse to be constrained by one particular label that works for us...We stress crafting good songs and appreciate the notion of solid vocals,” they say on their myspace.

    Influences like Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, TAD, and the Foo Fighters can all be heard in the 2010 demo. Stoning Mary certainly has a modern-rock sound, but they go beyond the typical radio-brand of post-grunge. The guitar solos on the demo blur the line between thrash metal and bluesy grime. While some of SM’s verses seem lacking, their catchy, pounding choruses make up for it with great chant-able lines like “You don’t know how they kick you down! You don’t care how they push you around!”

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    I think Stoning Mary describe their sound perfectly with a single word: Angergasm. Themes of their songs revolve around the dark side of the psycho-social-political world we live in today. Many of the lyrics covey anger over exploitation, intimidation, and confusion. Eric’s vocal style range is very dynamic as he’s able to sing well in a raspy baritone but also soar up to reach tenor-range high notes.

    Overall, I recommend Stoning Mary as a band to keep an eye on. These guys are going hard to the paint with writing, rehearsing, and gigging. I have a feeling 2011 will be a big year of this Cincinnati three-piece. You can connect with SM on myspace (myspace.com/stoningmaryUSA) where you can also listen to the tracks off the 2010 demo for free.

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