I really dig these guys. They are already 2 for 2 and now they drop a third collection of uptempo, anthemic melodic rock, delivered with an unmistakable energy, mixing the very best of classic 80s stadium rock with a distinctly modern twist.
Its band like Vega and the likes of Heat, Degreed and Work Of Art that are the future of moving this scene forward.
If it was still 1987, Stereo Messiah would be wall to wall hit singles from start to finish. Each track has its own mood, but each track has a bombastic chorus and layers of guitar, keyboards and vocals. It’s almost as if each song is in competition with the tracks either side of it, taking on a competitive persona, trying to outdo each other as the album progresses.
This is basically 52 minutes of anthems. And that could be about the only possible issue anyone could raise. There isn’t a lot of space on the album for the listener to take a breather. Its relentless harmonies and hooks from start to finish. That’s a tough situation to be in!
It’s a complex album, so I’m going track by track:
Title track Stereo Messiah kicks off this 52 minute ride with a tempo and mood that builds, with plenty of programming and vocal effects giving the song a modern edge.
All Or Nothing is simply a perfect, bombastic, pomptastic, rocking AOR anthem. Driving keyboards, big vocals and some classy guitar soloing all are driven along by a pounding beat.
Whenever We Are has the same melodic base and fast moving tempo, but features an even more massive vocal through the chorus with Nick Workman wailing away.
Ballad Of The Broken Hearted is actually anything but a ballad – it’s a fast moving, very moody and dark rocker with another big (but moody) chorus.
Gonna Need Some Love Tonight is less intense and once it gets through the mellow melodic verse, it bursts to life with another huge anthemic chorus.
The Fall is another slick, dark, modern, moody melodic rocker with an instantly likable vocal and yes, another big melodic, full force chorus.
Neon Heart is a fast moving melodic rocker with a dramatic, emotional heart.
With Both Hands is another one of the band’s classic hands in the air stadium anthems, with layers and layers of keyboards and vocals and a moody, harmony filled choruses.
10x Bigger Than Love was a Def Leppard Bonus Track from the X album for some territories and covered here by the lads with Joe Elliott guesting on backing vocals and lead during the verse. It’s a change of pace for the album, noticeably more lighthearted than the rest of the material. It stands out for that reason, but is still a fun track.
My Anarchy is similar to a couple of other tunes on the album – a driving beat, a moody, punchy chorus and great vocals.
The Wild, The Weird, The Wonderful is a less intense, upbeat melodic rocker with a strong catchy chorus.
Tears Never Dry is a 6 minute slow, very intense ballad to close the album. Another left turn from the album in general, but a classy bit of songwriting with a great high impact chorus.
Huge vocals, layers and layers of guitars, keyboards and vocals and a relentless pace of anthemic modern melodic rock. That’s what awaits fans on Stereo Messiah.
Different people are going to compare it to the other 2 albums in different ways, each one having good reason to be declared the band’s best effort. I can’t separate them; I just think they are all great.