Wasting no time in getting their point across, the very first track from ‘Living Creatures’ tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Las Vegas’ own Stolas; big, frenetic riffs give way to desperate, frenzied vocals and it doesn’t let up too much from there on in.
There is order amongst all the chaos, though, and while the whole affair has an At The Drive-In feel to it, combining some extremely creative technicality, with a raw, visceral delivery, it results in something that ends up sounding almost surprisingly fluid. Where so many bands end up tripping over the fact that they’re trying to do just that little bit too much when they attempt something this sonically ambitious, Stolas take it perfectly in their stride, with every note sounding purposeful and every section being given its appropriate breathing space before moving on.
Another surprise is just how many guest vocal spots there are on the record, most notably Tilian Pearson and Jonny Craig appearing on ‘Year Of The Light’ and ‘Panic’ respectively. It has to be said though, while fans of the guesting musicians will find something to love here, the fact that the vocal styles of those guests are quite similar really takes something away from the impact of it all. Taking the tracks on their individual merit though, it has to be said that the aforementioned ‘Panic’ is one of the clearest highlights of the record and should definitely be the starting point for anyone wondering if this is worth their time.
Written by Ryan De Freitas