Review Summary: Stella's EP is Hardcore / Progressive at its purist, an album that rises above others on the strength of legitimate artistic talent.
Hardcore / Progressive is a music genre that achieves many artistic plateaus; it is intense, energetic, and multi-layered. For the uninitiated, Hardcore / Progressive is a hard sell and, these days, most fans of Hardcore find themselves searching for hidden gems while awaiting the next releases from current Hardcore bands. However, with groups like Stella rising fast, the genre may see another leap forward in popularity.
I consider myself well-versed when it comes to the Hardcore genre, so to find a band that embodies the genre without falling into cliché or predictability is a great find. Usually Hardcore bands are easily summed up as being a combination of [insert Hardcore band] and [insert Hardcore band], however, Stella trumps this formula. This is all the more reason to search out their EP and listen to it.
Stella hails from Surrey B.C. in Canada, an area not known for producing cutting-edge Hardcore bands. However, this group is legitimate; from their live shows that mix musical talent with showmanship and humour, to the music itself, which ultimately resonates as the most important and impressive element Stella has to offer. There is a sense that Stella is having a great time doing what they love; it comes through in the music, in their performances, in their character.
Stella's greatest strengths are obvious: impressive guitar riffs, imaginative lyrics, and intense vocals, including strong work in the screaming department. The pounding rhythms of “Good Die Young” flow effortlessly into the ethereal guitar riffs in “Transparency”, while “Motown Riot’s” penetrating screams are equalled by impressive guitar-work in “Rockin’ Out in Short Pants”. The entire album, while only six songs, flies by quickly, but demands repeat listening. Each song seems a natural extension of the previous track, creating a seamless experience from one song to the next. I might go as far to say this is some of the purist Hardcore I have heard, at least recently, and it’s music to my ears.
For fans of A Static Lullaby, Poison the Well, and The Refused, Stella's EP is an absolute must-purchase; it is worth any and every effort you will endure to find a copy. These songs are also available for download on iTunes. I recommend starting with “Transparency” and letting the rest fall into place from there. You will not be disappointed. Here’s hoping Stella is around for a long time.