STUD – Circle Of Lies (2017)
“Circle Of Lies” is the new album from Helsinki rockers STUD, some kind of a cult legend in Finland’s underground scene. Despite of this being only their third album, STUD was founded around the mid-80s.
Back in the day STUD toured Scandinavia intensively and released a single, having enough positive feedback to attempt a full length debut. But it never happened and the quartet decided to call its a day around 1989.
In the fall of 2011, the original members met again and it was clear that the passion was still vivid so they decided to finish what they intended creating that album, this time on their own.
The result saw the light of day at the end of 2013 as their full length debut.
Musically STUD is straight up hard (melodic) rock and hard ‘n heavy balanced with good melodies, clean clear vocals, and darn fine guitar work.
Their rocking style is shamelessly retro-ish with a strong ’80s feel, polished and influenced by the likes of Pretty Maids, Scorpions, Mad Max, Victory, Americans Y&T, etc.
However, they own a personal sound in a true Scandinavian breed, also packing the songs with a tad of punchy modern production, and at the same time it can be heard the band’s past musical experience, the yesteryear of lived life and stuff.
On the strength of riffs and leads, it’s tempting to call this record a rockin’ guitar oriented album. Mika Kansikas’ six-string work is fiery but extremely polished, fresh, enthusiastic and melodious.
Ari Toivanen has a vocal style that can straddle between hard rock and metal with ease, throwing in a few high pitched screams. The rhythm section is sturdy and steady with Stenda Kukkonen offering both precision and flurry, bassist Jyrki Partanen is solid in the mix, but basically overcome by drums and riffage.
Title track “Circle of Lies” is the heaviest songs on the album, almost a homage of ’80s Euro metal in the vein of early Pretty Maids or 220 Volt.
But soon ‘Searching for Freedom’ display STUD’s melodic side. This is a classic midtempo tune with a strong British feel ala Praying Mantis or Bronz, and one of my favorite songs on this CD. Similar is ‘Seems to Be Right’, catchy and dynamic.
Mixing clean electric guitars in the vein of Scorpions and a Mad Max trademark melody, ‘Eyes of Hurricane’ will make classic ’80s Euro hard rock fans rejoice.
‘Real Man’ has a riff which reminds me of a Y&T early Eighties song, ‘You and I’ has some Saxon on it, then ‘Face Down has that delightful Scandi retro-hard with very clean guitars multi-part harmonies.
“Circle Of Lies” is a solid piece of classic ’80s Euro hard rock with melodic metal touches, very entertaining and quite varied.
STUD has done here what they wanted to do back in time, but with an updated (and good) production according to modern times yet clearly inspired by that classic ’80s atmospheres – you know what I mean – the first records by Europe, Pretty Maids, Scorpions, etc.
01. Hey You
02. Circle of Lies
03. Searching for Freedom
04. No Hero
05. More Than a Woman
06. Eyes of Hurricane
07. Seems to Be Right
08. Real Man
09. You and I
10. Face Down
Ari Toivanen – Vocals
Mika Kansikas – Guitar
Jyrki Partanen – Bass
Stenda Kukkonen – Drums
BUY IT !