Formed in 2010, Colorstone are a classic rock quintet who have recently released their new record Steam. The Swedish born group are moving steadily upwards in their quest to become the next big thing in old school hard rock. Comprising of Fredrick Bergengren on guitar, Johan Dahlstrom as lead vocalist, Olle Nilsson on drums, Samir Dounas on bass and Tommy Falk on keyboards, the five-some at first seem like an eighties throwback; pleasant but unremarkable. With second, third and fourth listens, however, elements of original modernity begin to shine through.
Their second studio album Steam was released at the beginning of this month. It demonstrates a slight change in direction in comparison with their debut album Into the Garden (2012). They have endeavoured to be more precise and succinct musically and lyrically. They have not, however, lost any of their infectious energy and enthusiasm for their work, rather, this vigour is tempered with a sense of maturity which brilliantly channels the vivacity into tightly executed and highly polished songs. Having fun and taking enjoyment from their work seems to be the raison d’etre for Colorstone. They do not take themselves too seriously and as a result, all the emphasis is put on the music itself, instead of the ethos behind it.
Each song on this album sounds as though it came from a different recording session. So disparate and distinct are they from each other that the record sounds like a compilation collection rather than a cohesive album. This is no bad thing. Rather, is showcases their range of talent and the tight control they have on their style. ‘Gotto Grove’ is a fantastic dancing number highly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin. The rollicking chorus and addictive guitar riff makes this tune one of the highlights of the album. Dahlstrom’s smooth yet finely gravelled vocal quality puts this song in a league of its own. ‘Never Too Late’ follows in the same vein: punchy, compact and moreish (also a bit Foo Fighter-y). Contrastingly then, is the much slower and melodic ‘Stone Temple’, which provides a much needed mood change in the album. Finger-plucked acoustic guitar and some powerful and mournful vocals from Dahlstrom make the case for Colorstone to be seen as much more than an eighties throwback band.
Colorstone exude a very familiar sound. It immediately brings to mind some late eighties – early nineties classic rock like Metallica, Black Sabbath or even a whisper of Nirvana. A downside to the slick and tidy nature of the album is that it has a tendency to sound over-produced. Hard Rock has always thrived on being unpolished and raw – this record is a tad squeaky clean to be counted among the greats. A bit of dirt and grit is needed to give them the edge they admire in their musical influences. However, given the sheer talent of their players and the surprisingly insightful lyrics, Colorstone are still worth a listen. It will take you back to the eighties if nothing else.