I think Stoneflower is going to be one of the more surprising releases this year as new listeners discover who they are and hear ‘Finally’.
Written by: DEMONAOR
LABEL: AOR Heaven
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Norway
LINEUP: John Masaki – vocals * Svenn Huneide – bass, vocals * Tom Sennerud – guitars, keys, vocals * Geir Johnny Huneide – drums
Additional Musicians: Per Hillestad – drums * Tommy Denander – guitar * Gunnar Westlie – guitar * Bjorn Ole Rasch – mini moog
TRACK LISTING: 01 Gonna Let You Go * 02 What Can Be Done * 03 Believing * 04 Calling All Stations * 05 Kylee * 06 The Devil Never Cries * 07 Shivering Hands * 08 Finally * 09 Through The Fire * 10 How Dows It Feel * 11 Fall
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Tom Sennerud, Frode Henriksen and Jon Johannessen decided to start their own band Stoneflower after recording two records with Diesel Dahl and soon after they brought Svenn Huneide on bass. The first single ‘Sign On’ was released in 1999 and the album ‘Crack A Little Smile’ was released in 2003 by a smaller record company called Storyteller Records. For this album they hired Steinar Krokstad (Stage Dolls) on drums and Dag BГҐrdstu on Tangents.
With good help from AOR Heaven, they promoted the record virtually all over the world and it got fans everywhere from Brazil to Japan. Johannesen left the band in 2005. The three remaining members started recording a second album. They had almost finished the entire album when vocalist Frode Henriksen had to move to another part of the country and the project was put on ice.
Tom felt that the songs were too good to let go, so he mixed the finished album on his own and published it in 2014 under his own label Late Night Music. Stoneflower’s second album from that year ‘Destination Anywhere’ garnered very good reviews and Sweden Rock Magazine named it ‘AOR Album Of The Year’. The album was sold and distributed through AOR Heaven. Tom and Svenn decided to breathe life into Stoneflower again and started looking for a new vocalist.
They started writing songs and recording demos and happened to meet vocalist John Masaki who was working as a singing waiter and dubbing comic strip in Tom’s studio at the time. They first hired him as a session singer to add some demo vocals, but it worked out so well that they decided to include him in the band as a full member instead.
They got help from Per Hillestad (Lava, A-Ha) on drums to record the first song, but they found that they also wanted a permanent drummer in the band. The choice fell on Geir Johnny Huneide who happens to be Sven’s brother. With the exception of a small contribution from Steinar Krokstad, the rest of the drums on the third album were recorded by Geir Johnny.
The album ‘Finally’ was completed in December 2019 and was released on May 15, 2020. It was mainly recorded in Tom’s studio Late Night Music and some of the drums were recorded in Stable Studio by multi-musician Leif Johansen (21 Guns, Phenomena, A-Ha).
The start is really strong. ‘Gonna Let You Go’ and ‘What Can Be Done’ are very close to the modern Scandinavian melodic rock in the style of Age Of Reflection or State Of Salazar.
This is probably followed by ‘Believing’, one of the strongest Toto sounding numbers that was neither composed nor recorded by them. This was one of my favorite tracks on the album. Very reminiscent of older Toto tracks and just had layer after layer of musical elements that were really enjoyable and with the vocals the track came together nicely with a great push and pull of softness and power.
Also the brisk ‘Calling All Stations’, again with some Toto hints, as well as the slower and somewhat more ‘West Coast’ sounding ‘Kaylee’ can convince.
Nine of eleven tracks are very enjoyable. There’s a great mix of music complexity, layers of intricate melodies, singable lyrics, powerful and unexpected solos. And lastly I surrendered to the Masaki’s vocals as he proved he’s more than an ‘Idol Star’. I think he’s with the right musical project that suits his voice
It gives him the ability to present strong and powerful vocals while also letting his vocals be completely vulnerable and stretch his vocal range to hit the high notes. I think Stoneflower is going to be one of the more surprising releases this year as new listeners discover who they are and hear ‘Finally’.
Gonna Let You Go (Official Video)
Shivering Hands (Lyric Video)