|Masterstroke - ‘Broken’ (Dynamic Arts)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Friday, 15 February 2013 03:30|
I know everyone thinks us music journalists have an easy life, we just sit around on big plush leather sofas, listening to loads of free shit, phoning PR people to blag our way into gigs… well, despite what our Gaz says, it IS like that a lot of the time… but, sometimes… there are times when it’s not all so simples.
Like when a band’s PR Company sends you said act’s latest CD and all there is in the packet is a single sheet of paper, with the band’s logo at the top, the name of the album and the record company releasing it and an email address. No biog. No info. No anything. And the CD? Well, it doesn’t even have a cover, never mind something as basic and straightforward as a tracklisting.
So, as a highly experienced (and dedicated) journalist, am I going to go off and do the PR guy’s job for him? Am I going to log onto Google or Facebook and find out as much information as I can? AM I FUCK!
So, given all the above, and as tempted as I was to stuff said CD straight into the envelope that finds it way over to the recycling plant on the Wirral every couple of weeks, am I going to review ‘Broken’ by Masterstroke, as released on Dynamic Arts Records on January 11th? (There you go, dear reader, you have as much information as I was given about this particular album – at least you can say that Uber Rock is a full service website, imparting all our worldly knowledge to you…)?
OK, before I start getting hate mail, I’m not a complete numpty, and I’m not going to let something as stupid as a piss poor PR mail out stand in my way of making a balanced judgement of what actually turns out to be not a bad album – the fourth from this Finnish power metal outfit (the following information is obtained from their much more informative official website).
It takes a while to get going: openers ‘The Eye’ and ‘I Condemn You’ are fairly standard heavy metal tunes with some pretty decent riffs, while ‘Seed Of Chaos’ and ‘Broken’ are pretty forgettable. It’s not until the second half, with ‘As We Crawl’ and the intricate ‘Reborn In Flames’ that things really start to get interesting, especially in relation to Niko Rauhala’s vocals, which are rich and deep and in total contrast to the squealing of many frontmen working within the power metal spectrum: indeed, Masterstroke’s sound, as a whole, is much denser and more effective for that approach.
So, it was worth throwing my initial journalistic prejudices aside and doing a bit of digging and listening… see, we do some work (now and again!)!