Review: Stoker’s striking debut

Photo by Shaun van Wyngraadt.

Photo by Shaun van Wyngraadt.


Review by Jessica Oosthuizen.

Rock act Stoker released their self-titled debut album in January 2017. They have also released a music video for their first single from the album, “Forever Drive”.  The material on the album is of great quality and it’s clear that the band has worked really hard to produce an album that features their own personal sound and feel.

The band’s lead vocalist, Chris Bornman gives a perfect description of their sound – “loud enough for head-banging and groovy enough for seductive dancing”. The album is an amalgamation of different sounds and influences; some songs are energetic and loud while others are slower and “groovy”. Stoker reinvigorates the genre of rock with this album, giving it their own twist.

The album kicks off with “Keep Swirling”, a song that starts with an energetic, upbeat riff, with howling and sombre vocals. “Evil Shaker II” shows Stoker’s adaptable nature and it’s a fresh, more subtle approach to rock ‘n’ roll and it shows the listener exactly who Stoker is and what they’re capable of.

“Forever Drive” is more restrained and shows a softer side of the band – the song is intense and honest. Bornman describes the music video for the songs as “eerie…even though the melodies and vibe isn’t necessarily dark”. Along with “Forever Drive”, “A Feast” and “Get Lost In This” are also softer and feature a more subtle approach to rock ‘n’ roll and these songs show the band’s ability to adapt and experiment with different styles.

“Speed night” is a feverish and wild song, the most energetic on the album. It features intense guitars and drums, and the vocalist’s adaptable voice is perfectly captured in the contrast of this song to the more softer songs. The vocalist growls and screams and the song pumps the listener up.

“Bloodstains” is another upbeat song that energises the listener. It features cool riffs with distorted guitars and a cool rhythm on the drums – the song makes you want to get up and move. The vocals are edgy and the song has a slight punk rock feel to it. “My Jackal Your Wolf” is aggressive in terms of the instruments as well as the vocals. The vocals give the song a sort of eerie and sinister vibe, and the guitar solo towards the end of the song adds to this dark atmosphere.

“Wasteman” is a song that feels as if it contains everything that Stoker can do. The vocals on this song shine, and Bornman really shows what he can do with his voice in terms of pitch and tone. The song starts off really quiet and calm, and builds up to an explosion of heavily distorted guitars and loud drums, constantly moving from soft to heavy. The song also features an excellent solo.

Stoker’s debut album is really something else. They did an exceptional job with producing this album, especially in the way that they have combined the different styles and sounds on the album. The material is fresh and energetic and it will blow the mind of the listener.

Watch Stoker’s video for “Forever Drive” below: