The term "relentless facemelting riffmasters" is probably overused, but with 'New Age Of Old Ways', it has found a home. Stoneghost are not afraid to draw inspiration from the whole breadth of heavy music, and appear to have mastered the art of pulling an idea but not becoming it, in short, these guys are damn good.
With the precison of Machine Head and a healthy slice of Mastodons chaos, 'New Age' consistently delivers up huge sounding tracks starting with the groove laden Faceless Ghost. The opening track is lyrically a starkly honest expose of front man Jason Smiths headspace at the time of writing. Much like the album itself, the message is simple, even in your darkest times, the real low points - you have to find the reason to carry on. As a band, having felt a measure of success as their previous incarnation as Snakebite, the fact this album is here is a testament to to determination of a band giving it their everything. The question is, can we the humble listener survive the carnage that 'everything' promises.
Notable mentions on the album come in the form of the aforementioned 'Faceless Ghost', 'All They Need Is Light' which brings an almost death metal tonage to the foray and the brutality of 'Your Trigger, My Finger'. You could be mistaken into thinking that Stoneghost are just an all out aggression machine, but then you get the excellent curveballs of proggy-doom territory with 'Sleeper' and stoner-desert journey that is 'Let Sleeping Beasts Lie', this band can literally go in any direction and still give the appearance that genre crossing was invented by them.
If one song had to be pulled to describe the album overall, it would be 'Second To Breathe'. A more downtempo outing than most other tracks, but incorporating elements from across their spectrum of flavours. Technical bravery, relentless intensity and depth of space that allows for the different styles to prevail. Weighing in at a hefty 7 minutes long, there is no hint of losing interest at any point, I'm reminded of a Soundgarden/Mastodon hybrid that isn't afraid to just carry on showcasing their sound. It would have been easy to overdo this track or cut it short, thankfully they didn't.
If Stoneghost can brave the industry and keep doing what they are, then we are looking at a huge band. With a serious need for UK to provide some bands that have the potential to become world class contenders, Stoneghost have to be right up there and I can see them giving the industry confidence that you don't have to conform to a certain narrow path to be marketable.