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Cellar Stone – Rise & Fall

Cellar Stone
Rise & Fall
by Mark Machlay at 12 July 2022, 5:45 AM

With a perseverance that seems unmatched in these times of COVID-19 in which everything seems to slow down, the Greek modern rock/metal group CELLAR STONE released their first album during the height of the pandemic and now, just two years later released their sophomore full-length “Rise & Fall” earlier in July of 2022. The two band founders Aris Pirris of PERSONA NON GRATA as vocalist and guitarist George Maroulees from DIVINER joined forces in 2018. These two old fellows of the rock/metal scene recruited bassist Akis Rooster of BAND 13 and George Karlis on drums to fill out the line-up. They came out hard with their debut album “One Fine Day” in August of 2020, heavily influenced by a variety of bands such as rock and metal greats BLACK SABBATH, THIN LIZZY, and UFO while mixing more modern sounding groups like BLACK STONE CHERRY, MASTODON, and ALTER BRIDGE. Obviously, a lot has happened and CELLAR STONE soon had to adapt to a time in which you couldn’t tour and play shows to promote your art.

They hope to prove they can reach even higher heights with their sophomore album. The entire album was composed by George Maroulees in a small village on an Aegean island during a long lockdown due to COVID in Greece, March-June, 2020. It was the first time that Maroulees worked alone composing an album. The songs were then arranged with George Karlis to prepare them for the studio. CELLAR STONE entered Soundflake Studio to record from January to February of 2021with mixing handled by Nick Papadopoulos at Monocle Studios. To prove their pedigree and with a nod to their influences, guitarist Chris Robertson of BLACK STONE CHERRY provides a guitar solo for the track “War We Can Win”. The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on people’s lives, especially the music industry, is reflected on the whole album, with lyricist Lofi Roussos commenting, “Although positivity, inner strength and resilience are usually found as an underlying theme in my lyrics, I couldn’t help but try to express the anger and helplessness that everyone was feeling. Politicians and all those people who have everyone’s lives in their hands, the ones calling all the shots. The lyrics on this album are talking to them.”

What plagues many modern rock/metal acts is the fact that they can create quality songs at high production quality, but none of them really stand out as a hit or noticeable making it hard to pick out songs from the whole pack on an album. CELLAR STONE unfortunately suffers from this, with most of the tracks on “Rise & Fall” being performed and crafted at a high caliber but there is a noticeable problem of dynamics, they always seem “on” throughout the runtime and rarely let the songs breathe. The first four tracks seem to just run full sprint ahead allowing the listener no real time to catch breath until you get to “To the Core” which really shines and displays the groove and in-the-pocket playing the group can achieve. Melodic layering and interesting, yet soulful lead playing saves many of the songs on the album and is definitely highlighted on this track. The previous track “War We Can Win” starts to see them use these tricks to their advantage but the most noticeable lead playing is provided by Chris Robertson, a non-member of the band. There are certainly moments on “Through the Veins” in which Aris Pirris reaches heights and degrees of sustain that are impressive in their own right and the chorus is all the more catchy because of it. Even further, the harmonies and connective timbre that underpins the ballad worthy “Save Me” touched and stirred my soul, it’s unfortunate that it is so late on the track list. I don’t feel that newer fans will be drawn in easily by the album but it will further galvanize their already established fanbase to pump their fists in triumph.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Borrowed Time
2. Going Under
3. Time To Fall
4. War We Can Win (feat. Chris Robertson)
5. To The Core
6. Through My Veins
7. Demons
8. Save Me
9. Rise & Fall
10. Storm Is Coming
11. Run Away
Lineup:
Aris Pirris – Vocals
George Maroulees – Guitar
Akis Rooster – Bass
George Karlis – Drums
Record Label: ROAR! Rock of Angels Records
     


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