We were pleased on the blog three years ago with the debut album from STARGAZERY, the Finnish Hard Rock band fronted by the ex-Michael Schenker Group vocalist Jari Tiura, completed with several ex-members of Burning Point (another talented Finn band).
After that successful CD, Stargazery returns this 2015 with their sophomore effort "Stars Aligned", where the band fell back on the old adage: 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. Then added another word of wisdom: 'Go Big or go home'.
In this sense, first, Stargazery has stuck to their formula of classic mid-Eighties (melodic) Hard Rock with an edge. As I said about their debut album, they sound a bit like Whitesnake, '80s Black Sabbath and latter period Rainbow, only with the keyboards at the forefront more often.
To the latter adage, these keyboards seem even more grand and encompassing. The guitar riffs as well, and when put together, "Stars Aligned" has monsterous bombastic sound. Indeed, this record sounds 'Big'.
Yet, groove, melody and vocal harmony are never lost. Everything's just larger - and better in my book.
Good examples of the more ambitious keys and guitar come with "Bring Me The Night", the killer "Missed the Train to Paradise" and "Painted Into A Corner" with its fantastic Hammond organ parts that seems coming out of the classic Uriah Heep repertoire.
Yes, the keyboards have an old school flair all over the album. While this motif abounds throughout, perhaps the best example comes when Stargazery covers Cher's "Dark Lady". They easily trump the Pomp of the original with a terrific delivery.
"Absolution" is in the great '80s Tony Martin / Black Sabbath kind of atmosphere, while "Academy Of Love" is more tagged in the heaviest mood of British AOR of the '90s. Of course, this is a highlight.
In "Angel Of The Dawn" vocalist Jari Tiura sounds like a perfect dead ringer for Rob Rock, and on the fierce "Dim The Halo" he sings similarly to the famous Graham Bonnet, sometimes like a young David Coverdale.
His vocal performance through the whole recording is simply astonishing and flawless, very diverse from high soaring to delicate crooning. The entire classic Hard Rock singing text-book is employed by the singer with taste and class.
Stargazery's "Stars Aligned" is a fantastic piece of Classic Hard Rock.
The orthodoxy of the genre is perfectly respected, set in the eternal mode of excellence created by the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale, Tony Iommi... Stargazery's dedication and their stainless faith is indisputable.
All comes out of the speakers truly engaging, entertaining, and often, seriously over the top and melodic. Add to this an amazing modern production / mix, and you have a winner here.
If the first try was already more than an enjoyable disc, this second effort from Stargazery is one step higher in the satisfaction scale, a pure Classic Hard Rock eargasm.
02. Angel Of The Dawn
03. Missed The Train To Paradise
06. Academy Of Love
07. Painted Into A Corner
08. Dim The Halo
09. Bring Me The Night
11. Warrior's Inn
12. Dark Lady
13. Tumma Nainen (Special Bonus track)
Jari Tiura (ex Michael Schenker Group) - Vocals
Pete Ahonen (Burning Point) - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jukka Jokikokko (Burning Point) - Bass, Backing Vocals
Marco Sneck (ex Kalmah) - Keyboards
Jussi Ontero (Burning Point, ex Wildcard) - Drums
BUY IT !