Starchaser is a new heavy metal band put together by the guitarist Kenneth Jonsson formerly of Tad Morose and he began the project purely as a solo album but it seems that the musicians he put together gelled rather spectacularly and they decided there and then that this should be a real, live band and not a one-off studio project.
Indeed, Jonsson must have sensed that something special was possible when he began putting the band together and it was obvious that there would be sparks of genius flying when the singer Ulrich Carlsson (Shaggy, ex-M.ILL.ION), bassist Örjan Josefsson (Cibola Junction), drummer Johan Koleberg (Wolf, Therion, Hammerfall), and keyboardist Kay Backlund (Lions Share, Nils Patrik Johansson, Impera) all came together. Jonsson and Carlsson were the major songwriters with production by Roger Bergsten in Sweden and you can tell that Jonsson and Carlsson must have developed an instant report given the strength of the material that they have written.
The album is pure and simple heavy metal that is a perfect blend of ferocity and finesse as the band combines the heaviness of acts like Cage, Ross The Boss and even The Three Tremors with the classic rock vibe of early Dio and Rainbow plus bands like Helloween and Jorn too. The guys perfectly blend huge metal riffs and searing, blistering guitar solos with a real melody and all with the wonderful keyboard work of Kay Backlund who does what Mickey Lee Soule, Tony Cary and David Stone did in Rainbow when they provided the perfect counterpoint for Ritchie Blackmore. We all knew that Ulrich Carlsson was a quality vocalists but I have never heard him so full of fire, power and passion as on this performance and he is just so positively charged that he gives the impression that fire bolts are shooting from his fingers as he gives the performance of his life and helps to raise this already perfect album to stratospheric heights. Of course, the band was put together by a guitarist so there was always going to be spectacular fireworks and any number of outstanding solos and Jonsson does not disappoint with his shredding but all is kept within the framework of the band remit and there are moments of excess for sure but all is within the context of what the band is playing. In any case, heavy metal was designed for excess and Starchaser have even gone quite a long way in redefining metal and taking this wondrous art form from the ’70s and giving it a perfect modern make over.
I am prone to a little over excitement and for making grand statements but, trust me, if you are a metal fan and it does not matter whether that is new or old school but you will not hear a better hard rock album than this and ownership is essential so better beg, steal or borrow (or better still buy) a copy immediately.
- Intro (0:50), Starchaser (4:25)
- Tokyo (4:27)
- Bringer Of Evil (4:37)
- Dead Man Walking (5:11)
- Angel Of Fear (4:25)
- I’ll Find A Way (7:20)
- Day Of Judgement (5:31)
- Killer Of Lies (4:20)
- Battleship (3:42)
- For A Dying World (4:41)
- Homeground (4:20)
- The Nightingale Paradox (Outro) (3:33)