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Cornerstone
Once Upon Our Yesterdays
Massacre Records
Produced By: Cornerstone

Running Time:

Release Date: November 17

Released: EU

Musical Style: European Melodic Hard Rock

Links: Cornerstone Doogie White Massacre
94%
Songs: 93%
Sound: 95%
Doogie White and Sten Morgensen are back for Cornerstone album number three.
The band, through their first two albums, has really gathered a huge following. The debut was a slice of great intense, dark AOR. Last year's Human Stain was a lot heavier and more intense again.
And now Once Upon Our Yesterdays is different again. Good to see the line-up has remained in tact, with Mike Tramp guitarist Kasper back, as well as drummer Allan Sorensen.
In some way, the album falls between the styles of the two albums. I am not yet sure where fans will rank this album. I'm leaning toward it being their best to date. The songs are just fabulous and Doogie's vocals are nothing short of amazing.
Some fans will be a little alarmed to hear the album isn't as heavy as Human Stain, but that doesn't mean it wimps out. It remains tough, in your face hard rock, just a little more straight-ahead, for lack of a better description.
The most notable thing about the album is the super clean, tight and balanced production. It makes this a far less complicated album. There is a lot going on musically, but it seems stripped back, with an open and accessible sound. Each track is filled to the brim with melodies to listen to at every turn. This really does come across like a major label release.
Track By Track:
Welcome To Forever is a good opener. The track has the necessary and expected - instrumental intro/build up before kicking in. When it does you will notice it's not as heavy as it could be, but still features a furious kick drum and a really clean guitar riff. Doogie moves straight into high gear as does the rhythm section.
The song features a strong and memorable chorus with a strong lead guitar riff.
When The Hammer Falls is a tough, hard rocker with a great lead vocal and some intense guitar play. The chorus is as menacing as Cornerstone can be, but its Doogie's huge vocals that rule the track.
Passion To Warfare is a mid tempo rocker that features an interesting intro before launching into another super tight guitar riff. The chorus is rather smooth and moody affair, with Doogie taking on a different tone.
Hour Of Doom features another great vocal performance. This is a somewhat lighter, but more uptempo rocker with a chorus that takes a couple of listens before becoming one of the albums' best. This track has a great melodic bridge and some snappy lead guitar before retreating back into a less intense verse.
Man Without A Reason is nothing short of a beautiful ballad. Doogie takes it to a new level without doubt with some powerful, passionate vocals. The song itself it fuelled by some great slow bluesy lead guitar soloing and a really strong melodic hook.
21st Century Man fires things up again with what might be the heaviest track on the album. Organ, drums and guitar all kick into high gear with a big lead vocal. The song itself is pretty simple uptempo European hard rock at it's best. Once Upon Our Yesterdays is another cool track. It's dark, heavy and slow track that builds intensity through the moody verse to a slightly heavier chorus.
The uptempo rocker End Of The World features a strong Celtic vibe. A monster rhythm section and a strong lead vocal keeps the track rolling along. The track is one of those really musically intense tracks that isn't an instant hit, but a solid album track.
It's time for another ballad. Some Have Dreams is acoustic to start, before the full band kicks in to fire it up a little. The song features more great guitar parts and a strong chorus that gets better each play. Nice to hear a big dose of Hammond organ in the mix too.
Scream closes the album. The song runs through a short guitar intro before bursting to life. This is another big epic feeling rock track with a powerful, intense sound that features another fabulous vocal. Surely this is Doogie's best work to date.
No major chorus, but a super intense song with layers of melodies to get to know.
The Bottom Line
This album really works collectively due to the strength of the songs. There's only 10 tracks and all are relatively short. There is not a wasted or misplaced second on this album. The production gives these songs room to breathe and the band's performances take them right over the edge.
This is not a hit chorus type of album. The album is best enjoyed by playing it start to finish rather than picking out individual songs. It is a great melodic but heavy rock album. I can't imagine many/any better European hard rock albums appearing this year.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Arrival
Human Stain
Once Upon Our Yesterdays

Line Up
Doogie White: Vocals
Steen Mogensen: Bass, Keyboards
Allan Sorensen: Drums
Kasper Damgaard: Guitar

Essential for fans of:
Cornerstone
Doogie White
Royal Hunt
Track Listing
Welcome To Forever*
When The Hammer Falls*
Passion To Warfare
Hour Of Doom*
Man Without A Reason*
21st. Century Man
Once Upon Our Yesterdays
End Of The World
Some Have Dreams
Scream*
--*Best Tracks


11/02/04: Wisey - tony_wise@bigpond.com
Rating: 96
I was very excited by Cornerstone when I heard their last album "Human Stain". It was such a great album that I wondered if they could better it with their next release, but I am pleased to say that in my opinion they have - it doesn't get much better than this. I think "Once Upon Our Yesterdays" is the best release I have heard in a long time.

It's pretty rare for me to like EVERY track on an album but I do on this one and it is so good that it's hard to pick out the best tracks.
My favorites are the opener "Welcome To Forever", "Hour Of Doom", the two ballads "Man Without A Reason" and "Some Have Dreams" and the last track "Scream" which is a fantastic track to close the album with. (There you go - that's half the album!) The other tracks are by no means fillers, they too are excellent songs, it's just I like the five above a little bit more.

I am just as excited about this band and album as I was with "Human Stain". HS had some great standout tracks and was a damn good album, but I reckon this album is better in that it is a little bit more consistent. The song writing, Doogie's singing, the band's playing, and the production are all excellent. I can't fault the album at all. It has great guitar riffs, great vocals, and I like the bit of organ here and there, especially the organ solo in "21st Century Man".

Cornerstone's sound reminds me at times of Black Sabbath, Saxon, Deep Purple and other bands with that old school classic metal sound of the 70's & 80's, but they are by no means rip-off's of any of those bands. They have developed that classic sound into their own sound, and I love it.

I must admit that I am no fan at all of the new style metal, I am a classic old school metal fan and that is why I like this band and this album so much. There's nothing cheesy about it, it's just damn good metal.

These guys have been around a little while in other bands, but I hope they keep this Cornerstone line-up. I have not been so excited by an up and coming band since the 80's!

16/01/04: Hanuk Baac - meduza@freechal.com
Rating: 95
Too bad this masterpiece hasn't been released yet in Korea and Japan due to the band's unwillingness to release this album through Avalon/Marquee. The label said no when Steen and Doogie wanted more aggressive promotion... I guess someone will pick them up eventually and I hope it doesn't take too long. Anyway, Human Stain wasn't an easy album to top but this time they did it, it's no wonder that they want more exposure. This album deserves it. One of my favorite of the year.

04/01/04: Ole Bach - toemrer.ole@get2net.dk
Rating: 90
Again Cornerstone has a fantastic cd out,they are musicians in worldclass.Once Upon Our Yesterdays is in the cd player nearly the whole time.In the top 5 this year for me.O.B.

24/12/03: freddy de keyzer - freddydekeyzer@hotmail.com
Rating: 86
A very good, classic hardrock album ! Done with class ! If you like Rainbow etc., then this is for you ! Very talented act and this is the third winner from them in a row ! Buy it !

23/12/03: WardyS3 - micktward@ozemail.com.au
Rating: 78
Not as captivating as their Human Stain, Once upon our Yesterdays continues where that very album left off, but lacks Human Stains excitment, freshness and determination. Don't get me wrong, we're dealing with a fantastic album here, I'm just not sure if I expected a slight departure from H/S (As the guys did when they followed up Arrival with Human Stain) or if it's just my expectations were quite high after the fantastic Human Stain.

I first heard Dougie's voice on Human Stain and was blown away by his sound and the bands melodic rock. Had it been released in 1990 it would have gone huge!!!!! Anyhow, I consider my score of 78% a good score, and anyone looking to recapture the enjoyment of Human Stain will be more than satisfied with what Cornerstone have done with Once upon our yesterdays.

Favourites are Welcome to Forever, Man without a reason, and the exciting (yes, there is still plenty of excitment on the album, I was just being selfish and wanted more), End of the World. End of the World is a pacey number that sucks you with its celtic intro and uplifting melody, albeit behind a dark lyric. Confusing? Nah, great fun!

In fact that's how I'd wum up Once upon our yesterdays, 'Great Fun!' Grab it, it was worth the wait!


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