ALBUM REVIEW: Stone Broken – Ain’t Always Easy

Stone Broken - Ain’t Always Easy Cover

Stone Broken
Ain’t Always Easy
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1

Label: Spinefarm Records

March 2,2018
RATING: *****

If you thought Stone Broken’s debut album All In Time was impressive, wait until you get a load of Ain’t Always Easy. Massive riffs, huge melodies, vast, sweeping anthems and a myriad of emotions seep from every chord on what is a triumphant return to the studio from Walsall’s most rocking of rock outfits.

Clearly a band on a mission, Stone Broken don’t waste time with niceties and kick things off with the angst riddled Worth Fighting For before seguing breathlessly into Let Me See It All.

Rich Moss’ vocals, all grit and grind, are beautifully honed, slicing through both of the opening numbers with consummate gusto, powered from behind by Robyn Haycock on drums with all the surety of a monster truck in deliciously controlled overdrive.

There’s a subtlety at play here too. The dynamism of the lyrics within Anyone contrast with the stark brutality of Heartbeat Away and its motifs of domestic violence. ‘You’re just an animal,’ Ross bellows with what sounds to be real hatred. ‘A beast without a spine!’ as surprise upon surprise pop up throughout this entire eleven track joy ride.

Chris Davis is in phrase and ripping riff heaven on guitar, displaying all of his tricks and flicks during Just A Memory while Let Me See It All underlines his grungier bent with astute mastery. And while all this is going on, its being underpinned and glued solidly in place by Kieron Conroy’s powerhouse bass playing. Never more is this evident than on Follow Me which, in all honesty, throbs in its intensity.

Hope and belief are two main themes throughout, bred no doubt by a sure fired confidence that in whatever they do, Stone Broken are fulfilling some kind of preordained Destiny to dominate a genre rumoured to be dying by degrees.

Ain’t Always Easy, like so many other albums, makes a mockery of this suggestion and positively hurls new light through old windows with dazzling effectiveness.

Yeah, there are hints of other bands in their sound. So what? Stone Broken’s freshness comes in their passion for what they’re doing. I Believe isn’t, arguably, the stand out track by accident; its sentiment of trying hard, working your ass off and wanting nothing more than to improve on that delivered previously, is a living breathing testament to the band’s clear ethos.

Home, the number which contains the album’s titular lyric, is a smooth lighter-in-the-air ballad tailor made for the live arena breathing space moment. Tastefully composed and just the right side of schmaltzy to be acceptable, this is destined to become SBs audience hugger and no mistake.

As a live act, Stone Broken are fast becoming recognised as a ‘must see’. With Ain’t Always Easy being only their second album, it’s a reputation that’s being bolstered by classy studio work and a sincerity that’s not always apparent from their peers. To paraphrase the majesterial Doesn’t Matter: Stone Broken, take a bow, ‘cos it’s your time!

1. Worth Fighting For
2. Let Me See It All
3. Heartbeat Away
4. Home
5. Follow Me
6. I Believe
7. Doesn’t Matter
8. Anyone
9. Just A Memory
10. Other Side Of Me
11. The Only Thing I Need

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