Sound — 10
The Norwegian metal act Stonegard has just released their debut album, Arrows, in Europe, over five years after the band's forming. When you listen to Arrows for the first time, you will instantly not know what to think. In fact, you will be like "Wow, this sound can't be the product of a debut album" But yup, it is. Maybe because of the amazing producer, Daniel Bergstrand (Mesuggah, In Flames, and Strapping Young Lad) or maybe just because of Stonegard's musical talent. I think it's a good mix. The album has an unique, massive sound that will just blow you away. It clearly reveals the band's metallic and progressive influences, but still the album got a sound that is very different than any other record I've heard. The drum sound of Erlend Gjerde is splendid; He indeed got a very good ballance between technical ability and musical variation, and may very well be the strongest chain in the band. The guitarwork by Torgrim Torve and Ronny Flissundet is very impressive too, though not as much technical as musical. You can easily hear the riffage inspired by early trash bands like Metallica, and still yet also inspired by modern prog-rock like Tool.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics on arrows can't be said to be super-serious, like a norwegian black metal band or something, they are just really cool. I would on a good day, maybe categorize the lyrics as beeing in the same street with Velvet Revolver, but yet more like traditional metal lyrics. Themes that go are individuality, hunt, violence and other. Hearing Torgrim sing "Yeah! Yeah! The shit is tikkin' You pull the trigger on me!" in the song Triggerfinger makes one wanna go nuts and bang along in the livingroom. The vocals are awesome, rough and very melodic and it couldn't be more perfect for this record. Reminds me of the vocals of James Hetfield, in fact.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is a must-buy if you like metal, though it crosses so many more genres. It will easily appeal to you if you are into some heavy shit at all, cause it's no doubt: this shit is hot and heavy! The strongest songs on the album is 'Arrows', 'Hunter, 'Barricades', 'At Arms Length' and 'The White Shaded Lie', though the other half of the album is completely ass-kicking aswell. All of the songs got this amazing, massive sound that just takes you away. If this album was stolen I would without doubt buy a new copy. It is just one of those records you fall in love with. So for now: go and buy at once while you wait for the second album. You will hear more of Stonegard over the years, I guarantee!