Stonehenge - Angelo Salutante

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Nail Records
Catalog Number: NailCD 006
Format: CD
Total Time: 61:20:00

Whadda ya know? Progressive metal all the way from Hungary, born and bred under the sign of acts such as Dream Theater and Rush, delivered with an impeccable sense of professionalism, and including a multimedia application with a gorgeous video for one of the band's songs. Enter Stonehenge, the latest contender in the overcrowded field of new prog metal ensembles.

There was once a time when this field of music and its exponents were widely strewn across the sound spectrum and barely managed to have their borders overlap brazenly, but all of a sudden, with the explosion of a certain Dream Theater, things began to get less distinctive, as young new acts struggled to either inject something new into the scene or perfect the approach. Most of them fell flat on their faces, on the run, dried up, and withered away; at least in the public eye. So the question lies open for all minds to ask: what's the deal with this one?

Well, Stonehenge is the kind of band that really doesn't sound like any other act specifically, but which doesn't sound too original either. Even singer Balázs Bóta is reminiscent of several other vocalists at some point during the record; the list of these include the likes of James Hetfield, James LaBrie, and John Bush, and being conferred the melodic gentility that has gradually become the norm for polished progressive metal. Because it is exactly that kind of music: heavy and yet melodious, headbanging at one point and gentle at another; dense here and sparse there, but always with the glossy compressed production and keyboard embellishments that get the fans of modern progressive metal screaming their lungs out.

The problem is that such an approach is completely safe by today's standards. Sure, "Wendigo" has that unforgettable chorus line that one keeps repeating for days after first listen, and "Between Two Worlds" has this really accessible quality that is half Dream Theater and half Rush with another unmistakable set of vocal lines, but it's all too predictable, too planned out, and ultimately lacking in spark. Of course, that could just be the cynical, jaded side of my overblown ego speaking, and many people will doubtlessly eat this up just like another batch of hot pancakes, but I fear that few can argue that Stonehenge is the latest revolutionary dynamite to blow up the progressive metal scene.

That, however, does not mean that this Hungarian quintet doesn't have the goods and could suddenly explode upon us with a breathtaking album sometime soon. The slight time signature hint of Messhuggah that appears in grinding distortion throughout certain moments on Angelo Salutante, as well as the awesomely impressive and threateningly majestic beginning of "Full Moon," inspiring images of old Magyar gates opening in ominous motion, prove that Stonehenge can do it with the best of them when necessary ... it's just that the spark remained hidden for too long this first time around.

Similar Artists: Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation

Invocation (1:29) / Newcomer (7:37) / For Another (4:48) / Wendigo (6:51) / Angelo Salutante (2:13) / Angels (5:01) / Full Moon (5:26) / Whisper (3:42) / Between Two Worlds (6:09) / Rambling (7:20) / Fly (6:48) / Yellow (3:55)

Balázs Bóta - guitars
Zoltán Bátky - vocals, samples
Ádám Baki - keyboards
Kristóf Szabó - drums
Bertalan Temesi - bass

Angelo Salutante (2001)
Nerine (ep) (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin HU

Added: May 18th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 652
Language: english


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