If you are looking for something classic but modern, with lyrics that matter, then cease your quest. Suicide Star’s debut called Isolation should be the salve that your soul is craving. From the ashes of former band Step Echo, with new lead singer Rob Barton, this band is ready to kick 2021’s ass.
CD buyers get a bonus that streamers and downloaders do not — an intro before the lead track “I Survive”. This intro, complete with air raid siren, explains the “suicide star” concept (with a shout-out to Neil DeGrasse Tyson). It’s an explosive astronomy lesson! Isolation is available now, just give the band a shout on social media and it’ll be in your hot little hands before you know it.
Opener “I Survive” is a positive start, with lyrics like “We’ve only just begun, this is the place where I wanna feel alive.” Rob Barton’s got the pipes and the band has the heft. Uptempo and heavy, this is the kind of rock we need right now. The riff by seven-stringer Les Serran kicks, and bassist Aki Maris has the groove locked with drummer Brian Hamilton (also of Storm Force). If you wanted something energetic and defiant this summer, here ya go.
The first video is for “Mercy”, another upbeat and catchy number. Each one of these songs has hooks, both vocal and guitar, and “Mercy” just doesn’t let up. “Have mercy on my anger,” sings Barton with intent. Lots going on here lyrically, but framed in such a way that you can relate to the words in whatever way suits you.
After two sledgehammer tunes, the track “Suicide Star” delivers melodies that are more on the pop side, but with the heavy backing intact. “Hold on, before you go too far, don’t you know who you are? You’re a suicide star.” Cannot get that chorus out of the skull!
The “power ballad” (if you will) is “Eye of the Storm”, but the emphasis is still on the “power” rather than the “ballad”. It has a majestic guitar riff, and lyrics with some serious heart. Barton sings ’em with passion, which is necessary when the band rocks this heavy behind.
Back to a tune with a classic metal vibe, “21 Guns” has kick and melody. “Just say you will,” goes the unforgettable chorus, with some killer chords in behind. Then comes the heavy “Follow” with a staggering riff, and Priest-like vibes. The lyrics are fascinating and open to multiple interpretations. It certainly could be about the last year! “When the lie becomes the truth…”
“Love Me Like You Mean It” has a Darkness kind of riff; tremendous hooks. This continues into “No Looking Back”, another lyric that could be about current times. “I just roll with the changes,” sings Barton. We can all relate to that. The hooks don’t let up on “Fractured”, a more plaintive yet still heavy rocker. The final track is appropriately titled “The Unknown” and concludes the album-length series of catchy vocals and guitar parts.
By the time you’re done the album, you’re still fresh to go in for a second listen. There is enough going on in terms of guitars and lyrics that you’ll want multiple listens to drink it all in.
Check out this interview by Deke and I with Rob and Brian from Suicide Star. Get an appreciation for the album and what it took to make it.