COLDSPELL - review added 24th February 2009
Album Review: Infinite Stargaze (2009)
For fans of: hard rock... and everything being just about perfect
Yes, I know, it's another rock band from Sweden. Every week there's another Scandinavian band breaking through into the big time. There must be something in the water - it isn't natural producing this many ultra-talented bands. The rumour that musicians are cloned in factories on the outskirts of Stockholm is, however, wildly exaggerated.
Coldspell have been together for a few years, but Infinite Stargaze is their first full release. They're a chique looking band, with Tobbe's bleached mohican and dark beard earning special kudos. The visual wow-factor even spreads to the album sleeve. The artwork is fantastic and will certainly be in with a shout for this year's best looking cover.
The musical wheels follow the familiar Swedish tramlines of gorgeous meandering melodies knitted with heavier chords and exemplary singing. Their's a rattling rhythm section too, with an intriguing slap-bass sneaking out from under the hemline occasionally. The production is so good you could smother it in sugar and call it a donut.
Infinite Stargaze kicks off with 'Keep On Believin`', a bright yet moody track with a gigantic sound and a chorus that'll be glued to your mind for weeks. 'Solid Ground' is a heavier number with an urgent vibe, 'Ravin` Mad' is even louder. You want to take both songs and play them obscenely loud in a fast car.
'Eye Of The Storm' has an epic feel in keeping with songs like Whitesnake's 'Still Of The Night'. It broods and stirs as it plays, all the way to the countrified start of 'Straight Things Out', a modern-ish track with a 70's veneer.
'Night Falls' is a smoking, tungsten-tipped, ballad with a sublime chorus and beautifully organic structure. Quite possibly the finest song on the album, it isn't far off gracing the Rock Realms Mix Tapes section. 'Fade Away', comes in at the other end of the scale. It has such a fat sound you feel the need to take away its cream cakes and make it go for a jog. I'll have a fiver on it sounding like the start of the Apocalypse when it's played live. Awesome.
'Greed' is up there with 'Night Falls' on the winners podium. In fact it arguably pushes 'Night Falls' into a big muddy ditch and laughs a lot. This is a song Giant or Europe would have been proud of producing.
'Shot Down' is another skyscraper of a track. Maybe not as domineering as the previous few songs, but still comfortably better most other releases you'll hear this year. 'All I Want' is formed in the same mould as 'Fade Away'. This is a song that needs serious airplay on MTV and rock radio. The tiered levels in the song's construction are a breath of fresh... dynamite.
'Surrounded' is an average song but, just like 'Shot Down', average here equals gut-wrenchingly fantastic elsewhere. The last track, also the title track, finishes the album on a high the height of Everest. Combining the heaviness of Megadeth with the melodies of Rainbow, the song will leave you wondering why everyone can't make music this good.
Infinite Stargaze is a grower on a similar scale to Californian redwoods and giant kelp. When I first heard it, I was impressed with the sound quality but indifferent to the songs. With every listen through, something new comes to the front and tickles your senses. Even now, after numerous plays, the album is sounding better and better.
It's a long, long time since I heard a heavy melodic rock album with this level of brilliance. Plenty of albums are good, lots are bloody excellent. Infinite Stargaze by Coldspell is so pant-wettingly outstanding I think I need a stiff drink.
Check out... All of it. Seriously. It's one of those albums.