HEROES AND MONSTERS – Heroes And Monsters (2023)

HEROES AND MONSTERS - Heroes And Monsters (2023) - full

Frontiers Music will release the self-titled debut album of an incredible new trio, HEROES AND MONSTERS. Formed by three rock n’ roll lifers and friends, bassist/vocalist Todd Kerns, guitarist Stef Burns, and drummer Will Hunt, the players’ resumes speak for themselves, but rest assured, if you are looking for hard hitting, hooky, in-your-face rock-n-roll, then Heroes And Monsters will be good for what ails you.
The band approaches their style with their influences in tow, but also with an understanding and appreciation of the current hard rock scene. A best of both worlds scenario, if you will.
Todd Kerns is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer. He is most noted for being the bass player and backup singer in Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and for being the frontman of gold-record selling Canadian band The Age Of Electric. In more recent years, he has been making his mark as a singer-songwriter with sold out solo performances as well as fronting former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick’s band as well as his own Canadian supergroup, Toque.
With a mix of ’80s influences and 2000s rock, ”Heroes And Monsters” is a unique-sounding album that caters to new and old rock fans alike, and it’s a serious contender for top album of the year.

Guitarist Stef Burns has a fantastic and varied history in rock music. He has spent time playing with pop acts like Sheila E., Berlin, and Huey Lewis & The News as well as rock acts like Y&T, whom he recorded four albums with, and Alice Cooper, playing on the albums Hey Stoopid and The Last Temptation. Stef currently plays with Italian rock superstar Vasco Rossi and also has his own band, the Stef Burns League.

Drummer Will Hunt currently resides in the drum throne for Evanescence, whom he first started playing with in 2007, and has performed and written on their last three studio albums, including their most recent release, ‘The Bitter Truth’, which debuted at #1 on 27 different countries’ album charts. Over the years, the in-demand skinsman has performed with Dark New Day, Skrape, Staind, Vasco Rossi, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Slaughter, and more. He has also appeared on albums by Black Label Society, Michael Sweet (Stryper), Crossfade, Dirty Shirley (George Lynch), Device (David Draiman of Disturbed), and more.

A Skid Row meets Saigon Kick sounding track ‘Locked And Loaded’ kicks off the album with a bang. With a chugging guitar and a heavy drum beat that you feel in your soul, ‘Locked And Loaded’ has the grittiness of a late ’80s tune. Kern’s unique tone is captivating and catches your attention right out of the gate as he utilizes his chest voice, adding to the heavier instrumentation on this track. In case your attention wasn’t already grabbed, Burns delivers a solo that’s phrased perfectly and filled with the use of a tremolo and the classic ’80s squeals.

Shifting gears into tracks with a 2000s sound, ‘Raw Power’ and ‘Let’s Ride It’ follow in the tracklist. Keeping with the heavy tone, the energy stays high, from the heavy guitars in the former to the prominent bass line in ‘Let’s Ride It’ paired with an anthemic chorus which will have you singing along after the first listen.
The ballad-like ‘Angels Never Sleep’ brings a softer edge to the album, while the AC/DC-esq ‘Break Me (I’m Yours)’ brings a sense of nostalgia to the album without being tacky.
Never failing to put in 100% on anything he works on, it’s hard to be disappointed by anything Kerns puts his musical touch on, ‘Hunt and Burns’ being the cherry on top.

The latter half of the track list brings ‘Set Me Free’, an early ’80s Metal sounding tune with a hint of Queen in the bright and layered vocals, and the closing track, ‘And You’ll Return’, a Bon Jovi Wanted Dead Or Alive meets Blaze Of Glory sounding song, acoustic blues rock influencing it in the best ways.

Although multiple subgenres of hard rock and metal make up the sound of this album, ”Heroes And Monsters” stays consistent from top to bottom of this debut.
Pairing three musicians who play in three wildly different bands doesn’t always make the mark. Kerns, Hunt and Burns, however, work brilliantly together, combining their influences in a way that has created a strong body of work.
It may only be the first month of the year, however ”Heroes And Monsters” is guaranteed to be a top contender for rock album of the year.
Highly Recommended


01 – Locked and Loaded
02 – Raw Power
03 – Let’s Ride It
04 – Angels Never Sleep
05 – I Knew You Were the Devil
06 – Break Me (I’m Yours)
07 – Blame
08 – Don’t Tell Me I’m Wrong
09 – Set Me Free
10 – And You’ll Remain

Todd Kerns – Lead Vocals, Bass
Stef Burns – Guitar
Will Hunt – Drums


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1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great album, nice review!

    I especially like the way you describe Set Me Free.

    “The latter half of the track list brings ‘Set Me Free’, an early ’80s Metal sounding tune with a hint of Queen in the bright and layered vocals”

    You were pretty close. It’s a cover song. The original is by Sweet. You can find it on their 1974 album Sweet Fanny Adams.

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