Review Summary: The post-grunge veterans release a solid collection of songs that should be more than pleasing for the fans.
12 Stones has done well in their decade as a band. Although never reaching an extraordinarily high level of popularity they’ve been successful within their niche of Christian hard rock that focuses more on the rock and less on the preaching so as to be accessible to a secular audience. They were responsible for getting many people into hard rock, including myself. I’ve found each of their releases to be very enjoyable; the raw, passionate self-titled debut, the heavier and more riff-focused Potter’s Field
, and the more mature Anthem for the Underdog
, which managed to balance the rockers with tracks that showed a gentler side to the band.
On the band’s new EP, The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
, they continue with the more mature sound of their last release. Although the EP is lacking the guitar solos that guitarist Eric Weaver often brought into the mix on the band’s other releases, it’s a very solid collection of songs, mainly due to Paul McCoy’s improved vocals. Lead single We Are One
was the worst way to represent the EP, since it serves as little more than a decent but repetitive anthemic track, something that’s been done better by the band in the past. It’s the sort of track that will do well as the rousing, mid-tempo theme to a sporting event, but it’s not very exciting otherwise.
Thankfully the rest of the EP is much stronger, and surprisingly heavier than would be expected from the band at this point. Opener Welcome To The End
comes out with chugging riffs and Paul’s signature gruff yet melodic vocals taking the reins. During the heavy riffing in the bridge we get a return of Paul’s scream, something we haven’t seen since Potter’s Field
, and it’s actually a harsher scream than before. Enemy
essentially follows the same pattern as the opener, and it’s another good rocker, although it’s slightly weaker due to its generic lyrics. These tracks are a good sign that the band hasn’t completely lost their edge, which was what it looked like might happen after the strong but more mellowed-out Anthem for the Underdog
The strongest track here is Disappear
, and it’s one of the better tracks the band has released, period. It’s actually not the typical 12 Stones sound, it’s more akin to Breaking Benjamin, particularly in the song’s main riff, but it all works out for the best. Paul’s vocals are very strong here, and the band manages to inject enough heaviness into the song to keep it moving. This should have been the first single that the band released for the EP, as it suggests a much better direction for the band than We Are One
Even though Lie To Me
was a strong track, the biggest issue with the Anthem for the Underdog
ballads was that Paul’s vocals were often overbearing, and they’ve remedied that here with the EP’s lone power ballad, Tomorrow Comes Today
. It’s a fairly standard radio-friendly song, but it lands on the better side of the spectrum, driven by a good melody.
Ultimately, while The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
may not be anything groundbreaking for the genre or even the band, it suggests that even as 12 Stones grows into a more mature sound they can still deliver a strong set of tracks, and hopefully they continue their progression on the next release.
Top Tracks: Disappear, Welcome To The End