Another Sunday, another unsigned band to promote. This week we turn to Germany’s Strangelet, a heavy rock band from Heilbronn. As always, if you want your band promoted here, send us an email (it’s in the contacts tab at the top!).
Heavily influenced by the 80s, the five piece band have filled their music with all the big riffs, keyboard melodies and catchy choruses of their decades old heroes. Some time ago the band got in contact and asked us to review their album, First Bite. Therefore the rest of this weeks Sun-Signed will focus on that.
There’s a certain trepidation that comes with an unsigned debut album, you have no idea what kind of quality you’re going to get. Will it sound like it was recorded in a cellar, will it sound like it was recorded in a huge studio, with modern technology as it is you can never know. The first impression the listener gets of Strangelet is a positive one I’m happy to report.
Privilege of Power opens First Bite, and after a brief guitar intro, they pass the drum test. It’s so often the drum sound that lets down an unsigned bands album, yet Jonas (keys), who recorded and mixed First Bite (with the final master by Stem Masters Munic) has coaxed a proper drum sound out, providing the listener with a solid thump. In fact, all the instruments sound clear, the panning sits comfortably in your headphones to give you a good experience, and the vocals are clear with no clipping. It’s an entirely professional sounding record. I know many people are wary of spending money on an unsigned bands debut album because of quality issues, but I can readily state this sounds almost on par with a signed and label supported act.
In terms of song quality, they achieve their goal of saluting the 80s. One of the things I really enjoyed on the release was the backing vocals in tracks like First Bite and Pray to Break. Opting for an AC/DC/Airbourne style group shout instead of constant harmonies does a lot to separate the band from a lot of bands in the genre.
It’s also an interesting take on the vintage sound. While a huge number of the bands in this area of rock come from the West Coast of the USA, Strangelet come from a country filled with thrash and power metal. While there’s no real sign of these genres cropping up in song form on the album, the meaty guitar riffs and solos, along with the thumping drums, harks at a certain influence. This heavier input on the hard rock genre is a welcome addition. With it being such a highly populated genre, a unique edge is important and Strangelet have one.
The most important thing though, more important than recording quality or anything like that, is are the songs actually good? The answer is very much so. With a decent array of influences behind the band, they don’t rely on one particular sound to carry them so you get a range of speeds and styles which keeps it interesting. One second you’re listening to a straight up rock song, the next you’re listening to the Judas Priest style Snakebite. They even pass the ballad test (the ballad test is – do I like it or not. I have a pretty low tolerance for ballads so the fact I enjoyed the GNR influenced Stillborn says a good bit for that song). If you’re at all a fan of 80s inspired rock then there’s definitely something in this for you.
Stefan Zörner – Vocals
Tobias Eurich – Guitar
Jonas Kümmerle – Keys
Jessica Stuart – Drums
Finn Janetzky – Bass