STARGAZERY – Constellation

STARGAZERY - Constellation
  • 8/10
    STARGAZERY - Constellation - 8/10


Label: Pure Steel Records
Release date: May 29, 2020

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It’s now over 40 years since bands like Rainbow were at the top of their game. Sanding the coarse edges from earlier influences, their fusion of Metal and symphonic styles saw big returns even as Punk spat in the face of Rock royalty. While this might seem like a golden age to anyone steeped in Heavy Metal history, there’s plenty of reasons to believe that rocking the classics is alive and well in 2020.

One band defiantly holding the torch aloft is Finnish Melodic Rockers Stargazery. Back with a new album after 5 years, this is the sound of a band in love with their inspirations, but not completely absorbed by them.

Of course it’s deliciously daft. Opener “Sinners in the Shadows” bounces along in pleasing style, it’s raw and raucous riffing supported by synth string textures and a compelling chorus. And when the flanged breakdown heralds the solos, it all feels satisfyingly inevitable.

It’s a reliable rule of thumb that Melodic Metal albums will showcase the mellower side of a band. Mid-tempo almost-ballad “I Found Angels” is a case in point. The dreamy pulse of the verse is ably supported by an Everest of a chorus that sounds like something Heart left on the cutting room floor. For a band of this kind to be able to deliver genuine feeling in the quiet moments shows a grasp of dynamics and control not always evident on other albums.

Elsewhere, title track “Constellation” rips away with staccato drum work and a chant-a-long chorus. Jari Tiura really shows his vocal chops here, reaching extremes of drama rarely found this side of mid-period Iron Maiden.

The whole package is rounded out by two synth driven rockers – “In my Blood” and “Raise the Flag”. The former encourages us to “dream to the dream”, while the latter is a triplet-rhythm call of defiance. Both feature crackling interplay between the guitar and the Derek Sherinian-like synth solos – a feature that’s bound to appeal to the converted as well as the curious.


  • Dan Whittle

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been a music fan since his mother introduced him to the piano at the age of 5. That she introduced him is no real guide to whether he could play it, "as anyone who had the misfortune to hear my hamfisted plonking would readily testify," says Dan. Abandoning his nascent career as a pianist, he turned, instead, to listening to as many albums as he could lay his hands on. The first, halting steps, were of the novelty record variety; but gradually he found his niche. After a brief, abortive flirtation with indie, he heard Clutching at Straws by Marillion and that was it. These days his tastes are on the catholic side, but whiling away a few hours listening to ambitious guitar music (especially of the progressive variety) is still amongst his favorite activities.   Oh, and if anyone's wondering, he did learn the piano and the guitar in the end...

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