Written by: Front Row Status
It’s no secret that the city of Vancouver has an epic music scene and hailing from the West Coast myself, I had to dig into it. Thanks to the extraordinary power of social media, I managed to get in contact with hard rock/heavy metal band, Dark Stone.
These guys have been around since 2012, previously playing under the name Mosquito Dick, only to eventually become Dark Stone in 2014. Brothers Matt and Jason Mintenko, who had sang together in church as kids, eventually recruited bassist, (and world’s coolest name) Kato Von Essen, followed by their drummer, Stefan Grabowski. Together, the four of them have created this hard rock, heavy metal sound with obvious instrumental influences like Metallica and Eddie Vedder-esque vocals.
What makes Dark Stone noticeably different from the rest is their complete consistency; something that a lot of artists and bands struggle to find. Their three song EP holds the same amount of raw energy as a live show and their live shows have that synchronized quality you’d find on an edited and perfected recording. Both their lead and backing vocals are strong and simply heavy metal but at the same time, it’s not just Matt Mintenko’s pipes that are the highlight of the show. Without overpowering each other, somehow they manage to show case the numerous talents of the band.
In 2014, the band travelled to Hollywood, CA to record their EP with Jeff Blue and Mike Gonsolin. Like I mentioned, it’s only three songs… and I want more!
"What It Feels Like" is your head-banging, heavy metal song that springs Avenged Sevenfold to mind. It’s so catchy that I’m going on day four now with it playing in my head and it makes me wonder why this song isn’t getting more radio play.
With “Slave”, we hear that same Dark Stone heaviness that could easily be a number one track on a full length album. The justice this song needs comes in the form of an arena, a wall of amps, lots of beer, and just a few pyrotechnics, if I do say so myself.
Last but not least, my absolute favourite: “Tomorrow”. This song takes a bit more of a hard rock side, showcasing the dynamic range this band can sing and play in. Right away, you’ll think Pearl Jam. I’m also a huge sucker for the a good guitar solo that’s very (and don’t kill me because I mean this as a compliment) 80’s, hard rock ballad.
I sincerely hope no one cringed too hard at the mention of an 80’s ballad.
The guys of Dark Stone also come off as incredibly humble and dedicated to not just their music, but the entire Vancouver scene. In 2015, an alliance that goes by the name of Splitting Aces, was formed in order to support local music. Splitting Aces consists of bands, Marry Me, Dead City Scandal, Kiss Of The King, Red Thieves, One Left Alive, and of course, Dark Stone. These musicians admirably support each other by showing up to shows and sharing and following each other’s social media updates. It’s also a fantastic platform for fans to discover new artists and to become immensely involved in the heavy metal community.
I’m especially curious to see what this new year has for Dark Stone as they once again emerge themselves into the studio for early 2016. For a band that opened for Monster Truck, Headstones, Godsmack, and even Guns ‘n’ Roses legend himself, Slash (!) at Boonstock, 2013, I think it’s safe to say that these guys are going to continue moving up the ladder from here.
Get FREE downloads for “Slave”, “Tomorrow”, and “What It Feels Like “ atwww.darkstone.bandcamp.com
Wanna keep in touch?
For other bands associated with “Splitting Aces”, check out the Facebook group atwww.facebook.com/splittingacesvancouver