6 January 2016

Lola Stonecracker - Doomsday Breakdown

Another Italian band here (I got a bunch just before Christmas and I am slowly getting through them) and this time it comes Bologna based Hard Rock act Lola Stonecracker.  They describe themselves as a hard 'n' heavy/post grunge act who have fallen into the Modern Hard Rock category; they have toured Europe with the likes of Faster Pussycats, Alder's Appetite, Reckless Love, John Corabi and Gilby Clarke.  So they have been making a lot of in-roads to the Continental hard rock scene.  The cover is a little messed up, but it is also an interesting image as well.  From the beginning I am expecting more glam/melodic rock than post grunge if I am honest, so let us find out if that hunch is correct......

“Jigsaw” is a high-octave opening number, it has a mixture of Glam Rock and Grunge with a leaning towards the Guns ‘N’ Roses side of the musical spectrum (albeit with a Kerbdog/Alter Bridge feeling to the sound as well).  It has a lot of energy to the sound, the solo in the middle is brilliant and the band sound as if they were having a blast recording this song.  As opening songs go, it is starts this album perfectly.  “Witchy Lady” is the slow moody follow up which still has a fair amount of stomp to bring to the preceding’s, the song is lynch pinned by a rumbling bass line and the rest of the band are giving freedom to fly as this song about a lady who has cast a spell is allowed to fly.  I do like the song, it is really good and has been one of the tracks I have returned to the most with this record; the only thing is that I probably would have placed it further into the album, but that is just my strange tastes and does not take anything away from the brilliant song.  “Generation on Surface” is a stomping tune that has glam running through the heart of it, but with a grunge hint in the same way that Alice in Chains sounded during their 'Facelift'-era.  It goes between the two sides with easy on one song, it does not feel ham fisted and fits very naturally and for a song that is created between two different styles it could have easily drifted through the cracks.  "Secrets for a Universe" brings out the acoustic guitars to the affair and you have an old school ballad which will have fans of the genre putting their lighters/mobile phones (never understood how the phone replaced the lighter) in the air as they sing along in unison.  It is not a style that I would normally go out of my way to listen to on a regular basis, but this song is actually one of the best on the album and keeps my interest from beginning to end; I think that the kick ass solo in the middle really helps the song as well.  "Perils of a Man from the Past" adds the hard rock back to the sound here and the song is something of a standard track for this album; loud riff, hard drumming, good bridge sections, lots of loud bass, a voice that could charm a devil to heaven and an angel to hell mixed in a hard rock song that is played very good.  On this album with fifteen tracks, it sort of gets lost in the mix a little if I am honest but this does not stop it being a really good song.

The second third of this album starts with "Jekyll & Hyde" which is a song about the double nature of man and has quotes from the Robert Louis Stevenson novella, it is another good song that showcases the talent in the band as they have created a song for a genre which I have found a bit difficult to love over the year and it keeps my interest all the way through.  As old school hard rock goes, it is one of the best numbers I have heard in years.  The seventh track is the title track of the album - Doomsday Breakdown" and I can see why they have used it as the name of the album.  It is a fast, high-octane song that will be going down a storm in their gigs.  However, it is the song I have not been able to connect with, it just does not quite reach the heights of other songs on the album and no matter how many times I try, it just keeps going past me sadly.  Not a bad song, just not for me either.  "MC Kenny's Place" however, now that is a song that I got from the very beginning.  With a huge riff, a sing along chorus and that hard rock feel of the late 80's/early 90's that took over the world, you have a solo that could make people want to pick up a guitar and a song that will have the masses sing out in unison; this is one of the tracks of the album and has been on regular rotation since I started to review this album.  "All This Time" brings back the acoustic guitar, with this song about finding your home and losing it once again.  I will be honest, it is not one that I like or dislike in any degree; it is played well and more power to the band, but it is not for me.  "Space Cowboys" brings country to the mix here, so you now have a glam/grunge/country song (not so much of the grunge if we are honest) and that is a sentence I am pretty sure I have never written before.  It sounds fun, it does bring a smile to my face as the band sound like they are having fun here; however, I have no illusion that it is a filler track and would have made a great B-side song in years gone by.

"Psycho Speed Parade" is a shot of adrenaline for this album, it is a no-nonsense, hard hitting, foot to the floor rock song that makes the world go past a lot faster than normal.  It is something that is so easy to get wrong, but it is done just right on this song.  It is impossible not to smile when this song is playing and is another top draw number from Lola Stonecracker.  "Mistery Soul Maverick" has a serious edge to the riff, it sounds moody from the beginning and this continues throughout the song as this tale about being haunted by a lady.  The riff is the strongest of the album, the band sound tight as a nut here and it is brilliant.  I love this song, it is a moody number that ticks all the right boxes and it is worth checking out.  The only problem is the title - it is spelt mystery my friends (my radio show colleague would hurt me if I did not address this).  The next song is a cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song "Relax", this is a standard cover and does not change the album for better or worse - decent cover and will probably go down a storm in the live set and our reviewer Chris Jerm liked it.  The penultimate song of the album is "Shine" and once more we are in ballad territory with Lola Stonecracker here, it the longest song on the album and it does its job admirably.  For a hard rock ballad, it hits all the right spots, the guitar licks are there, the piano supporting the band, the heartfelt lyrics and so on and so forth.  Another song which is not exactly to my tastes, but it is still good for what it is.  Ending the album is "Using My Tricks" which ends the album with a hard rock stomp that takes a little while to get in its stride as it is starts off a little light, but once the verse starts then it starts to pick up steam and does not stop till the end - even with the calypso in the middle.  It is a really good song, ending this album probably on the right note with all things considered.

I really should not like this album as much as I do, it is not something I would go out of my way to listen to; however, it is performed so well that I would be a fool to ignore it.  These guys are more glam/classic rock with hints of grunge and it all comes together in a way which has not excited me since the days when Guns N' Roses were considered the world's most dangerous band.  The only really issue with the album is the length of it, if it had have dropped a couple of song then the band would have had a killer EP as well as a killer album; sometimes less can be more for people.  However, this really is just a preference from myself and does not take anything away from the band.  If you are looking for your next new hard rock giants, I would really recommend these cats as they sound fantastic.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

Top track - Mistery Soul Maverick
You can purchase Doomsday Breakdown on Amazon here

You can visit the Lola Stonecracker website here

You can follow the activities of Lola Stonecracker on Facebook here

You can stream Doomsday Breakdown on Spotify here

You can stream Doomsday Breakdown on Deezer here

You can stream Doomsday Breakdown on Tidal here

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