Cornerstone - Human Stain

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 49:10:00

Cornerstone really is a band's band. Featuring members from a variety of recognisable, international acts, the band play melodic metal of the finest quality with hints of AOR and clean hard rock. The two main members are Scottish vocalist Dougie White (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Danish bassist Steen Morgensen (Royal Hunt). Their previous album, The Arrival, was well received although it lacked a little polish and diversity at times. The elements were definitely there and with their brand new album Human Stain, Cornerstone have managed to correct the problems and lift the band in more ways than one.

This album could easily have appeared on the Frontiers Records label because it has that melodic metal/hard rock sound with similarities to bands like Pink Cream 69, Royal Hunt, Ten, and classic bands such as Rainbow, Deep Purple, Magnum, and DIO. Two other Danes also feature on the album in ex-Royal Hunter Allen Sorensen (d) and Mike Tramp's guitarist Kaspar Damgaard. Dougie is in extremely fine form, establishing himself back in the scene with a credible performance that is both catchy and energetic. At times, the music, especially the guitars, sounds like a copycat Royal Hunt without the boost of Andre Andersen's keyboards. There are keyboards on Cornerstone but they are not the essence of the band. In fact, the biggest impact with this album is guitarist Kaspar Damgaard - his work is almost flawless and it's so exciting and powerful that at time he drowns out the others. The arrangements in the music is also enthusiastic and varied, Dougie's performance is also wide-ranging from the eloquent anthem of "Singing Alone" to the more showy splendours of "Midnight In Tokyo" and the brooding "Unchosen One."

The album manages groove and precision and the varying interplay between guitarist and vocalist is suitably impeccable. Steen has done the majority of the musical work and it shows with clear definitive numbers. Royal Hunt is getting progressively tighter and his involvement in that band shows on Cornerstone as well. There also seems to be a smattering of Hammond organ on this album too that display their roots so clearly ("Sail On Stormy Waters," "Some People Fly," and "House Of Nevermore".) The keyboards are performed by Steen himself as well as Rune Brink (Wuthering Heights).

Apart from the processed vocals on "Resurrection Symphony," Cornerstone manage to capture the essence of the music with a diverse, involved showing. Whilst not original in the sense of musical output, Human Stain more than makes up for with energy creeping out of each and every note.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Unchosen One / Some People Fly / Wounded Land / Singing Alone / Future Rising / Resurrection / Sail On Stormy Waters / Midnight In Tokyo / House Of Nevermore / Forever Young

Dougie White - vocals
Steen Mogensen - bass and keyboards
Kasper Damgaard - electric and accoustic guitars
Allan S?rensen - drums and percussion

Guest musicians:

Rune Brink - additional keyboards
Kenny Lubkce - backing vocals
Anne Murillo - backing vocals (9)
Peter Brander - slide guitar (6)
Jacob Kjaer - guitar solo part 1 (9)
Tony Rahm - guitar solo part 3 (9)

Arrival (2000)
Human Stain (2002)
Once Upon Our Yesterdays (2003/2004)

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin VA

Added: December 7th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 874
Language: english


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