If you haven’t heard of Stonus before now, it’s not because they don’t kick ass. The five-piece band hails from Cyprus, an island country in the Mediterranean Sea with a population smaller than Dallas, TX.
That sort of isolation hasn’t stopped these European rockers from pumping out impressive EPs over the last few years. Their first—2017’s SUPERTRIP—was an eclectic display of Psychedelic and Grunge-tinged Metal. The band quickly followed it up with Lunar Eclipse (2018), a pulsing collection of fuzzy, lo-fi Psychedelia.
But 2020’s Aphasia showed the band refining their sound, crafting high-energy Heavy Rock while cranking up their production quality. Just as the band should have celebrated its release, the pandemic swept through, canceling their first European tour and sending the band members packing to their individual homes in Cyprus and England.
In the isolation and frustration that followed, the band wrote Séance, an 18-minute three-pack that feels like a natural extension of all that made Aphasia such a powerful collection of songs. Here, Stonus alternates betweens heart-pounding riffs, roaring guitars, desperate vocals, and an insatiable search for something bigger than themselves.
- Kyriacos Frangoulis – Vocals
- Pavlos Demetriou – Lead Guitar
- Nicky Ray – Rhythm Guitar
- Andreas Aristides – Bass
- Kotsios Demetriades – Drums
Track One: Evil Woman
“Evil Woman” is an immediate Stoner Rock staple. The guitars are big and fuzzy, the drums roll through at a gallop, and vocalist Kyriacos Frangoulis enters the fray with an enthusiastic, “Yeah!”
As “Evil Woman” settles into itself, it frequently puts off Queens of the Stone Age and Deaf Radio (Stonus neighbors to the northwest in Greece) vibes.
“Evil Woman” alternates between straightforward, in-your-face riffing and ethereal builds with glimmering guitars. Eventually, though, the track bursts into a powerful conclusion.
This is immediately one of the band’s best and most electrifying songs, even when you consider the depth of EPs like Aphasia, Lunar Eclipse, or SUPERTRIP.
Track Two: Messianism
Like “Evil Woman,” “Messianism” is a high-energy song, this time packed into a nearly seven-minute timeframe.
Unlike “Evil Woman,” however, the band members take their time in building “Messianism.” Although it occasionally features massive guitars and riffs, it also showcases far-off vocals and palm-muted power chords, giving Stonus time to build and experiment.
“Messianism” fits well into the Stoner Rock template (just like “Evil Woman”), but for different reasons. Here, the band exploits a couple of different ideas as much as possible. This could have grown tiresome, but the band is successful because they deliver the song with characteristic energy.
Track Three: El Rata
After “Evil Woman” and “Messianism,” “El Rata” takes a different approach.
Instead of maintaining a relatively straightforward structure and delivery, “El Rata” is awash with unsettling vocals and swirling guitars that occasionally break into the space with haunting effect.
With these unusual elements added in, “El Rata” is occasionally experimental and frequently slips into the Space Rock category.
Pro Tip: Crank up the bass and let it carry you through the conclusion of the song.
Final Score: 9/10
Pros: Séance is a curious EP that deserves multiple listens. Thanks to its high energy and intricate, clever songwriting, Séance is a powerful EP from a band that specializes in its own brand of Stoner Rock.
The definite standout here is “Evil Woman,” though “Messianism” and “El Rata” are capable of pulling their own weight in compelling ways.
Cons: Séance is fine for what it is: three tracks making up an EP. Clocking in at a little more than 18 minutes, Séance could be stronger with a minute or two chopped off, especially when you consider the fatigue that some of Séance‘s repetition (like in “Messianism”) or inconsistency (like in “El Rata”) can generate.
Stonus isn’t known for writing long albums. Aphasia had only seven tracks, Lunar Eclipse had five, and SUPERTRIP had six. Séance is an EP, sure, but we wanted a little more structure here to intro and outro the experience.