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Album Review: Man of Stone: Chapter One by Halo Tora

Glasgow prog-rock five-piece Halo Tora release their new album Man Of Stone: First Chapter on 6th April. The new album features 6 tracks of atmospheric, melody driven alternative rock music, pulling influence from the likes of Coheed And Cambria, Leprous and Karnivool. Halo Tora set out with the goal to create immersive music for people who enjoy tunes with depth and meaningful content. Musically, building layers into their songs, creating a mood or a feeling throughout each composition the band have crafted a soundscape that is truly their own.

This is the first record of a 2-part series that the band will self-release, supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland. “The music and the lyrics are a discussion, and for me, a remedy.” says vocalist Chris Alexander. “The idea was to be as honest and open about it all so that the listener could relate. The lyrics draw inspiration from how, as individuals, we have dealt with anxiety and our mental health.”

Walking the tightrope between prog-rock, post-rock and alt rock the band create an album that doesn’t fear to go to uncharted territory. It feels like the natural evolution of the band, developing their sound and lyrics from something that looked at society and politics to something personal. Something that you can relate to easier. This is a version of Halo Tora realising their potential and at the top of their game.

As a small word of warning, this is an album rooted in prog-rock with leanings to other genres. Opener ‘Earth Exit Bloom’ is a big prog-rock number full of driving riffs and epic overtures. It’s good, but the real magic starts to come out in ‘Always The Last To Know’. The intro is delectable as the guitar riffs soars over you as the track build into the big alt rock chorus. The intricate guitar work is the star of the show.

‘Fractured’ is a sombre affair full of emotion. It pulls at the heart strings and connects with you in a visceral way. Chris Alexander’s vocal is superb and propels the track into real heart wrenching territory. ‘Unthank’ is another emotional track, but this time it connects through the music with the strings and post-rock ambience delving deep into your soul. ‘Heart of War’ is all triumphant prog-rock before ‘Man of Stone’ rounds things off with a real Scottish flavour.

This is Halo Tora at their best. Essential.

AD Rating 8/10

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