The cover artwork of this album (done by Rodney Matthews) reminded me of enough obscure […]
By Grigoris Chronis
May 21, 2010
Stairway - Interregnum album cover

The cover artwork of this album (done by Rodney Matthews) reminded me of enough obscure Hard Rock/Metal LPs released in (mostly) Central Europe and Scandinavia in the 80s decade, so I was expecting to listen to something having to do with traditional/vintage music performed by old-school fans. STAIRWAY is a band existing since the early 90s and had already pressed four albums prior to the independent release of "Interregnum" (see possible meaning here). Have not listened to any of the British band's previous efforts so this new CD acted like a first introduction to the Rock machine of STAIRWAY.

The trio's style is somewhere between fantasy Hard Rock and classic Heavy Metal with an epic dimension. You will not find party or shakin' tunes in here; the band's flirting with the epic/lyric side of British music and - to an extent - also exposes a neoclassical profile once seen only in Scandinavian bands. The songwriting is excellent, the band shows they have the know-how to compile solid non-boring tunes carrying the message, and the variety in the album's tracklist confirms such a verdict. Some parts are darker than others, you will not find enough elements of speed since most numbers are mid-pace, and the overall result can be seen as quite interesting.

The guitar riffs are obscure enough - the average production helps so to this direction - and I'd give credit to Pete Jennens for his leads work. The vocals of Graeme Leslie are intriguing, they will remind you of singers like Bob Catley, Tony Martin and Ronnie James Dio, his voice gets quite mystique here and there, his deep singing cannot go unnoticed and there are parts where - tied to some outro song leads - he sounds more than promising. The rhythm section gets credit too, but the drums sound is poor. Unfortunately, this omits a lot from the album's dynamics...

Silent or more lunar parts shall travel you to the 70s majesty of bands like early RAINBOW, URIAH HEEP or WISHBONE ASH, while fans of MAGNUM, DIO, IRON MAIDEN, ASTRAL DOORS, some NWOBHM heroes (BLITZKRIEG, TRAITORS GATE) or Christian Hard Rock warriors (PETRA, JERUSALEM) shall find enough interest in more powerful numbers. Apart from introducing you to their notable world (if you've never come across them), STAIRWAY proves they have the skill to sign a challenging deal with a proper label. This - apart from a better chance in promotion/distribution - will possibly give this nice British band the chance to look after their production too, since it will give any future album a further boost.

7 / 10


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"Interregnum" Track-listing:
  1. The Suffering Servant
  2. In The Shadow Of The Cross
  3. I'm Calling
  4. Born To Die
  5. Ride The Wind
  6. New Life
  7. Enter The Light
  8. Fear & Lies
  9. What Lies Within
  10. The Battle's Over
  11. Born To Die - Epilogue
Stairway Lineup:

Graeme Leslie - Lead Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Pete Jennens - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Andy Edwards - Drums

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