Jack Starr’s Burning Starr – Stand Your Ground
High Roller Records
Release Date: 25/08/2017
Running Time: 1.15:43
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
When it was first put to me that I did a review of the new Jack Starr’s Burning Starr album “Stand Your Ground” (as well as conduct an interview with Jack Starr) I must admit I didn’t really know what I was dealing with. I was told that I should recognise the name (which I am sorry to say I didn’t at first) and I nearly fell off my chair when I did do a bit of background research!
One of the founding members of Virgin Steele, Jack Starr has built this reincarnation of Burning Starr with three other very high-profile musicians, Todd Michael Hall (singer with Riot V), Ned Meloni (ex-Pentagram, ex-Reverence) on bass and Kenny ‘Rhino’ Earl (formerly of Manowar) on the drums, a line-up that has been in existence since 2008.
Founded in 1984, in New York City, the band released their first album “Rock the American Way” in 1985 and they achieved success in the USA during the hair metal explosion of the late 1980’s. After recording four albums the band split but were rescued in 2008 by Jack, often described as one of the unsung heroes of heavy metal, with the current line-up.
“Stand Your Ground” is the 7th album from Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, released on 28th August 2017 by High Roller Records, and it straddles the fine line between power metal and traditional metal. US power metal always sounds slightly different to me than European power metal and with the calibre of musicians in this band, they are one of the best US power metal bands I have ever listened to.
Says Starr, himself, of the new album, “It’s an old school type metal album, with modern production and great songs. In my opinion, it is one of the best metal albums in the last twenty years.”
The album was produced by Bart Gabriel, recorded and mixed by Kevin Burnes and mixed also by Patrick W Engel at Temple of Disharmony Studios, and has a very retro, yet modern feel. Says Starr: “I think if we could go back in a time machine and put this album out in 1988, it would sell millions of copies.” And I personally can’t see why it couldn’t do that now.
Bassist Ned Meloni and drummer Rhino make up as potent and powerful a rhythm section as you could hope to get and vocalist Todd Michael Hall is one of the best singers around. I may be slightly biased in that view being the huge Riot fan that I am, but he has an ability to stretch his vocal range with ease, hitting the higher notes when he needs to and sounding aggressive without having to resort to growls and dirty vocals as so many other vocalists do.
The album is full of well written and crafted songs, each standing out on its own merits. Every track is a winner and there are no fillers on this album. The album may be over an hour and a quarter long but it is an hour and a quarter of full-on US power metal! What more could you want?
Stand out tracks (and I had to think long and hard about this as each track is just as good as the next!) are Stronger Than Steel, False Gods, Hero and The Sky is Falling, and title track also needs a special mention. At just over 11 minutes in length, this song has just about everything you could want from an awesome power metal song, fantastic riffs, tempo changes and that excellent voice of Todd’s. I always think a sign of a good ‘long song’ is how long is appears to last. Although I thought the song was ending a few times before it launched me back into the throes again, it never seemed like it lasted for 11 minutes, almost as if two or three songs had been sewn together so intricately that the seams just couldn’t be seen.
The other sign of a good power metal album is the album artwork and, again, this does not let you down. Painted by Ken, a legendary artist known for his iconic work for bands such as Rainbow, Kiss and Manowar, the artwork has more muscles, swords and blood than you can shake Thor’s hammer at! Some people might think this a little cheesy but I personally love it and it befits the album perfectly.
Ok, this album doesn’t have any genre pushing revelations or tread on any new ground but nonetheless it is a mighty fine album (nigh on three weeks in my car is testimony to that!) and one that I personally won’t tire off.
So, if you have 75 minutes spare go and grab yourself a copy of “Stand Your Ground” and be transported back to the cheesy world of US power metal, and if you don’t have 75 minutes to spare go and grab a copy anyway!
Its 75 minutes you’ll be glad you gave up!
Bring on the Power! Bring on the Cheese! Bring on “Stand Your Ground” and raise your fists and yell!
01. Secrets We Hide
02. The Enemy
03. Stand Your Ground
06. The Sky Is Falling
07. Worlds Apart
08. Escape from The Night
09. We Are One
10. Stronger Than Steel
11. False Gods
12. To the Ends
Jack Starr -Guitars
Ned Meloni – Bass
Todd Michael Hall – Vocals
Rhino – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities