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Cornerstone - Reflections

Cornerstone
Reflections
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 March 2017, 10:14 AM

CORNERSTONE is a Melodic/AOR band that, while definitely not metal, does a great job in balancing rock and melody. Immediately upon listening to the opening track, the expressive and soulful vocals of singer Alina Peter glide over my ears.  Her voice is loud, clear, perfectly balanced in tone and tenor, and has a natural infectious melody.  I’m a sucker for female vocals and hers are done so well; she is a very talented singer. In the Metal world, female vocalists usually don’t play an instrument but Alina does; she plays guitar and does it quite well.  Due to the nature of the music and genre the band resides in, there isn’t anything terribly complicated about the guitars, who are also supported by Steve Wachelhofer, but that isn’t a bad thing.  Sometime simple is the way to go; the catchy and steady riffs of “Nothing To Lose” shows this, as does the melodic and awesome guitar solo.  “Northern Lights” is a stand out track, where the guitars create a nice galloping structure, like a non-metal IRON MAIDEN.

Michael Wachelhofer ends up being the renaissance man of the group, as he also provides keyboards in addition to the bass.  The keyboards are a real highlight, lightly accenting the songs to give them a great atmosphere and a late 70’s/early 80’s feel without all the cheese that is often associated with that era. The clean keyboard that plays throughout the last track “Believe In Me,” really highlight everything else in the song; my ears latched onto the keyboards and just found their way to everything else.  His bass is just as effective, especially on the song “True Confessions,” where he has a funky and playful riff that form the foundation of the song.  The guitars, also very well done, rides upon the bass, carried on like a summer breeze; it’s just a very smooth effect.  Christoph Karas is one of the better rock and roll drummers I have heard in some time.  He doesn’t over or underplay; every note he hits, every strike on his drums, is for a reason.  He compliments the songs as well as they compliment him.  With him as the final piece of the puzzle, the whole band just comes together so well.  As the listener, I can tell the band is very comfortable with each other and it just makes the experience all the better.

The writing as a whole is easy, smooth listening but not boring.  The overall atmosphere is somewhat moody; I listened to this album at night and it really has a good “nighttime” feel to it.  That may have been what the band was going for, considering the night landscape of the city featured on their cover art.  At any rate, this is a fun album to drive down the road at night, cruise control on, and the windows rolled down.  In that respect it reminds me of KATATONIA’S “Night Is The New Day” album although the two bands couldn’t be more different.  I think the songs could benefit with some more structure; most of them are the usual verse, chorus, verse even if they do fit a lot more into their songs than most other bands that clearly want radio play.  Every song on the record is catchy and to the point; it’s obvious that they want some broader appeal and I really hope they get it—the music on this album is better than anything I’ve heard on radio in years.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Nothing To Lose
2. Last Night
3. Heart On Fire
4. Whatever
5. True Confessions
6. Northern Light
7. Brother
8. Sooner or Later
9. Believe In Me
10. Once
Lineup:
Alina Peter – Vocals, Guitar
Michael Wachelhofer – Bass, Keyboard, Vocals
Steve Wachelhofer – Guitar, Vocals
Christoph Karas – Drums, Percussion
Record Label: ATOM Records
     


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