Thursday, September 25, 2014

STUD-Rust On The Rose


Due to be released on October 13st, "Rust On The Rose" is the second full-length album from Finnish hard & heavy rockers STUD. First formed way back in 1986, with STUD's first single "Mä Haluun Elää" / "Viimeinen Yö" reported to now be a highly sought-after collector's item(!), the band was initially only active until 1989. Fast-forward to February of 2013 and original members Ari Toivanen (vocals), Mika Kansikas (guitar), Pasi Hietanen (bass, replaced by Matti Jalonen in Feb 2013) and Stenda Kukkonen (drums) decided it was time to pick up where they left off with the ultimate end result being last year's "Out Of The Darkness". Now here it is 2014 and STUD is issuing the follow-up to their 2013 full-length debut album with the the album's first single, "I Don't Know" (no, not the Ozzy Osbourne number!), having dropped this past May. That particular song is heavy and on the radio rock side of life, but for STUD and this 11-track album we're primarily looking at 80's-inspired hard rock (as in hard rock and not the hair metal/glam metal/pop metal nonsense!) that is distinctly STUD-like in nature. By which I mean STUD sounds like STUD first and foremost and in a world of carbon-copy hard rock/heavy rock bands that all look and sound alike that is not only remarkable, but downright refreshing! Starting with the appropriately-titled "Raise Your Fist" STUD rolls up it's sleeves and pulls out the guitar for some real foot-stomping rock and roll with great cuts like "Rock'n Roll World", "Freedom Call" and "Break The Chains" offering cool solos, slick bass work and addictive drumming! While the title cut strikes a slightly different cord while it's almost AOR-styled hard rock and "Poor Man's Buddy" slows things down a little there are songs like "Dangerous" and "I Don't Know" eagerly waiting to balance things out! As stated and just like the group's last album there are 11 tracks here with the near-ballad "Playing To Win" closing things out nicely. Despite the somewhat dull artwork pictured above, "Rust On The Rose" is actual a colorful album with plentiful amounts of energy, finesse and dare I even say it, swagger! Name-checking similar acts for reference points would be a folly, but just as "Freedom Call" pushes things toward an AOR-take on Dio(!) there are "helpful" suggestions should anyone be left wondering where exactly to put a band like STUD in the grand scheme of things. I'd be inclined to at least name AC/DC, Ratt, Montrose, Alice Cooper, Kiss, Bad Company, Ted Nugent, Van Halen, (early) Def Leppard and the Scorpions, but as I typed that list up if still struck me how much these Finnish rockers merely sound like STUD! So, after all of that I'm just going to go with my gut on this one and say that when it comes to "Rust On The Rose" if you like the idea of a band that combines heavy rock, 80's hard rock and the "lighter" side of heavy metal into one art-form (and one that is great benefited by way of the presence of a real rock and roll loving' guitarist by the name of Mika Kansikas!) then you should really try on this band for size. For an album that simply appeared one day in my inbox from out of the blue, "Rust On The Rose" is a pleasant remember of just how enjoyable old-fashioned hard & heavy/heavy rock can be when it's cooked to near-perfection! 

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