Thursday, October 5, 2017

STUD: "Circle of Lies"

Rating: RRr
Label: Cranksonic
Review by Satu Reunanen
Finnish hard rock group Stud released their third album Circle of Lies this September. The band is still relatively unknown in Finland and elsewhere, although their history goes way back to the eighties when they toured a lot and even appeared on TV, back then performing in Finnish language. The band had a break and came back to the scene in 2011, now singing in English and released all of their albums after that. The line-up today is Ari Toivanen (vocals), Mika Kansikas (guitar, keyboards), Jyrki Partanen (bass) and Stenda Kukkonen (drums).
The third album offers similar songs and feelings as before to those familiar with Studs music. The album kicks off in a mighty way with Hey You, the guitar opening the song and a high scream to follow. It's one of the heaviest songs on the album with a mix to match. No fear though, the band still plays hard rock in a traditional fashion. The title track takes a faster turn with stylish guitar parts, which are present throughout the album. The band stays in 
their comfort zone through the album though, they play it all safe which is fine, they get their point across. Toivanen has a recognizable, echoing vocal sound, which he can also use in a powerful manner and is backed up with other vocals.
The traditional eighties feel is very deep with Stud. With keyboards playing in the background quite unnoticed, Stud could as well be a part of the Peer Günt camp, another eighties Finnish band which plays with a garage sound and a more straightforward approach. A certain Günt style occasionally haunts the Stud album, especially the guitar beginning at Real Man, and makes it a somewhat raw listen. The style might be a calculated one and even if it's not, it will surely wake the interest of fans of this style. But with the unsufficient amount of keyboards the album can't offer much diversity and layers. Some of their songs would've worked better with/more keyboards in them. The album needs a few spins before the songs and the atmosphere sink in. Circle of Lies is for fans of traditional, simple hard rock, with roots heavily in the eighties and music played with a garage feel.

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