Hailing from the Emerald Isle, Stevie McLaughlin is back with his new album Toy Empires. And boy is there some good music on here.

Starting with the heavy pounding rhythm and snake charmer melodies of Between Life and Death, McLaughlin shows that he is ready for business, and prepared to deliver a killer album. Shadows Alone start with classic piano work, shifting into the driving thoughtful song that was commonplace during the eighties and nineties. Apocrypha continues with a piano intro, before moving into the thundering of the guitars and the story of old legends and new tales. Brilliant work by McLaughlin. Straw Men is riff-heavy, a pounding rhythm carries the song, as the music unfolds painting a beautiful image.

Prophetic Skies has the triplet rhythm guitar intro of classics of old, and with the guitars pounding out into a melodic rhythm as things progress, one can tell this is going to be a blinder of a song. As the guitars shreds and the galloping riffs continue, the listener is proven right. Immortal Rose has a hint of Alter Bridge in its beginning lick, before moving into true metal territory with swagger and grit. Chimaera has swagger to it, and the vocals create a sense of desperation and a hint of urgency to proceedings.

Depletion continues with the piano theme, with the sad, mournful lyrics creating a haunting atmosphere. Toy Empires is a mix of soft and haunting, and solid riffage, a great combination, and a brilliant title track. Memories of Eden is the final track on the record, and it is also the longest weighing in at 10 minutes and 41 seconds. It is a journey through music, fast, brutal, melodic, soft, and careening. A brilliant way to finish the album.

Be sure to get the album when it is released on 20th April via Limb Music.



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