Released 13th January 2017
‘Social Stain’ is the debut album from the Finnish hard rock band of the same name. The band was formed in 2014 by bassist Toni Broman and their sound is heavily influenced by ’90s hard rock and metal bands including Alice in Chains, Guns’N’Roses and mid-career (The Black Album/Load-era) Metallica.
We’re off to a good start with the first two tracks Breakout and Dead Man Talking paving the way towards what promises to be an action-packed joyride fueled by catchy guitar tunes and “sing along with your hands in the air” hard rock vocals. The Metallica influence is fairly easy to detect – both the guitars and the vocals have that Load-era Metallica vibe. Vocalist Teemu Kokkonen also likes to add the occasional “yeah!” to some of the songs, though nowhere near as often as Mr. Hetfield does. Social Stain have a fairly relaxed, rock’n’roll/punk attitude with the emphasis being more on having a good time rather creating any complex structures or dark and profound lyrics.
Then just when you think you have figured out what Social Stain are all about, they suddenly decide to slow down the pace and deliver a slower ballad, At Peace. This song proves that if you look past the easy going, punky attitude, you will discover that these four guys are skilled musicians who are totally committed to bringing you the best hard rock album that they can offer. But don’t worry if ballads aren’t your thing, just move on to the next song for more catchy, guitar driven hard rock tunes including the title track.
In summary, Social Stain clearly like their ’90s -style hard rock – denim, leather, beer, motorbikes etc. Yet there is nothing vintage about their music. Whilst this debut album definitely has that playful feel to it, it is also very well composed and performed. What’s great about it is there are no real filler tracks on here.