Monday, 10 February 2020


On a personnel level there is not much we can tell you about the subject of this review other than that they hail from Cypress, California, that they prefer to use their initials, JJ (vocals/guitar); RG (bass) and JG (guitar/drums/percussions), rather than their full names and that their collective name is Stone Emperor. What we can tell you however is that they have made a stonking blues flecked hard /stoner rock album entitled "Planet Ruin"  and that it is now available on the hallowed pages of Bandcamp!

Although we did mention the terms "blues flecked" and "hard/stoner" in our intro piece for Stone Emperor's "Planet Ruin" we maybe also should have mentioned its alt-rock/grunge qualities also as this collection of seven riff heavy musical pieces owes as much to Seattle's grunge explosion as it does to the heavy blues rock of the 70's and the stoner/psych and doom grooves of today's underground scene. Those alt-rock grunge qualities present themselves partly in Stone Emperor's musical attack but mostly they come from JJ's vocals which are strong clean and tinted with an edgy weariness, which although not immediately apparent on the stoner(ish) first track "Winter Light" does give songs like the excellent "The Majestic Desert" and the superbly schizophrenic "Echoes of Existence" an edge that would not sound out of place on an alt-rock/grunge compilation album and that's despite both songs having heavy doomic musical backdrops. Stone Emperor's bluesier side also gets  an airing on "If I Bleed" a mid tempo old school torch song driven by RG and JG's booming bass lines and tub thumping drum patterns, JJ's impassioned sultry vocal and swirling guitar bringing an air of blues rock authenticity to the proceedings. The band finish things up with "Where I'm Going", a song that has a an almost radio friendly vibe, it is a bit of a departure from the bands heavier material but nonetheless an enjoyable one.

"Planet Ruin" is quite a unique in that it refuses to be penned into any one style, an album that blurs the lines that are drawn between genres and sub-genres and says this is what it is, either love it or leave it.
We love it, we hope you will too.
Check it out ….

© 2020 Frazer Jones

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