SPEED STROKE – Speed Stroke (2013)
SPEED STROKE is a new Hard Rock band from Bologna, Italy, formed in 2010 by guitarists D.B. and Niko, two known musicians in Italian Rock/Metal scene, also producers of many underground groups in the area.
Their self titled, rockin’ debut just has been released in Europe few days ago.
Speed Stroke toured extensively and they were invited in 2011 to participate in Dave Lepard’s tribute performing the song ‘Riot in Everyone’, one of the best covers of the disc.
Stylistically the band has recognizable influences, but essentially Speed Stroke plays American Hard Rock with some Euro sleaze influences mainly in the choruses.
The stars of the recording are the sharp guitars delivered in a wall of layers that truly rocks. The good thing is both are really well complemented and mixed resulting in an impactful attack never sounding muddy or noisy. Speed Stroke’s sound is completed by a hard hitting rhythm section and the incisive vocals of young singer Jack.
The overall sound on this disc is sweaty, energetic yet polished hard rock with attitude.
Opener “Sick Of You” is a gritty, sleazy hard rocker plenty of street gang vocals all over and killer stabbing guitars. The middle section fight between the rhythm six-strings and the soloing rocks.
“Nothing’s True” is more bluesy-hard constructed in the American way with melodious guitars, same with the cowbell-fueled “Lookin’ Down”.
With track four arrives the first ballad, and the only weak moment on this recording. It’s a nice cut musically, but Jack’s forced vocal performance ruins the song. I think the composition was wrongfully arranged for his pipes, because on the other slow tune on the album, “Shine”, all works fine.
Talking about “Shine”, this sweet tune driven by a simple acoustics and cool orchestrated strings is cleverly placed in the track 8 slot giving some rest to the listener.
Rest, because Speed Stroke does not let recover your breath with a cascade of hard melting rockers such the killer “Out Of The Pen”, the highlight for me. It has an assassin riff a la Shotgun Messiah and a powerful chorus, while the solo is hot are really outstanding.
It’s followed by the party-like “One Day Is Enough” and the short and aggressive “Trust Me, I Care”, where some Hanoi Rocks can be heard. “Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” is an ode to the genre sonically reminding Jettblack, whilst “Flesh & Nerve” adds some melodic sleaze to the proceedings in the Crashdiet vein.
“Speed Strokes Of Fire” is a one and a half minute fun re-work on the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ Jerry Lee Lewis classic, and then the album ends with the groovy, almost sensual riffage of “The Hunt”.
“Speed Stroke” is a solid, energetic debut by these Italian rockers.
While the songs follow the traditional Hard Rock / Sleaze patterns, the band sounds fresh and truly tight delivering twelve enjoyable tracks to rock your backyard party.
The stupendous guitar work really makes the difference here, hot, valvular, melodic and sweaty, but technical and punctuating when needed with pin up rhythms and some monster solos by D.B., who also is at charge of the very slick production.
“Speed Stroke” rocks, and rocks really good.
01 – Sick Of You
02 – Nothing’s True
03 – Lookin’ Down
04 – Burning Heart
05 – Out Of The Pen
06 – One Day Is Enough
07 – Trust Me, I Care
08 – Shine
09 – Age Of Rock ‘n’ Roll
10 – Flesh & Nerve
11 – Speed Strokes Of Fire
12 – The Hunt
Jack – lead and backing vocals
D.B. – lead guitar, backing vocals
Niko – guitar, backing vocals
Fungo – bass
Neb – drums, percussion
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