Stampede - 'A Sudden Impulse'

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Stampede - 'A Sudden Impulse'

A welcome return.

Arising originally from the ashes of NWOBHM hopefuls Lautrec, Stampede came together when the Archers Reuben (vocals) and Laurence (guitar) split from one of the later incarnations of Wild Horses, the band originally put together by ex-Rainbow and Thin Lizzy members Jimmy Bain and Brian Robertson in 1978. Taking with them journeyman drummer Frank Noon (he of the original Def Leppard EP), hooking back up with ex-Lautrec keyboard player Alan Nelson and recruiting the then unknown bassist Colin Bond, step-father and step-son had Stampede up-and-running by the end of 1981. Polydor Records quickly picked up on them and released two albums ('The Official Bootleg' recorded nice 'n' cheaply at the Reading and Mildenhall Festivals in 1982, and 1983's 'Hurricane Town') before pulling the plug. A great shame, because Stampede were a fans' band – they didn't shift huge numbers of units but everyone who saw them loved them – and given time they could have made it. But the bean counters never see things that way.



But now they're back for a second crack. Archer, Archer and Bond reformed the band in 2009, and with Chris Clowsley on guitar (and an additional guitarist Rob Wolverson helping out in the studio) and Steve Graystone behind the drumkit, the new-look Stampede have come up with a brand new album entitled 'A Sudden Impulse'. Unsurprisingly, the album treads a familiar path to 'Hurricane Town', boasting a strong running order of melodic British hard rock in the vein of UFO and Thin Lizzy, bolstered by a muscular production that really brings out the best of the band; check out the guitar sound and the vocal harmonies – two of Stampede's trademarks – and you'll hear what I mean. 'Hard Rock Hell' and the single 'Having Fun' showcase the band's heavier end, and although the more overtly commercial material like 'Homeward Bound' doesn't really do it for me, there's always another cracker like 'This Road' just around the corner.

Intervening years haven't blunted the band at all. Archer Snr's vocals are as strong as ever, and Archer Jr's guitar work is as fluid as it was back in the day – and don't forget that in his subsequent stints with Grand Slam and UFO Laurence Archer was following in the footsteps of some of the best known guitarists in the world. Supported by a solid rhythm section and some material seemingly mined from the classic age of rock, 'A Sudden Impulse' marks a welcome return for Stampede. And it's great to have them back.

John Tucker

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Stampede - A Sudden Impulse
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Review by Woody

I have to admit Stampede is a new name to me and I only discovered the band upon their reformation and consequent live dates. The band were amongst the N.W.O.B.H.M movement of the early 80’s, and despite gathering support and critical acclaim at the time the band never really hit the big time, but given the support of the band now they have reformed it’s surprising they never made more headlines back in the day. “A Sudden Impulse” is only their second official album a cool 28 years later, a lots happened in that time and Stampede guitarist Laurence Archer went on to play in UFO & Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam.

With the band’s cult status firmly established following raving reports of their return live performances it’s no surprise the band have decided to do an all new album. The band currently features Reuben Archer (Vocals), Laurence Archer (Lead Guitar), Colin Bond (Bass), Chris Clowsley (Guitar) & Steve Graystone (Drums) and a little studio help from Rob Wolverson (Guitar). The album was recorded in various studios but was mixed and mastered by Mad Hat studio’s favourites Mark Stuart & Sheena Shear in Wolverhampton.

Having been so impressed with a band so totally new and fresh to me I had high hopes and expectations for this album. I wasn’t disappointed! “A Sudden Impulse” is a grand collection of blues influenced melodic hard rock in the tradition of UFO & Thunder. There is a real traditional and very British feel to stampede’s swaggering brand of blues rock which really appeals to me, but I wouldn’t say the album feels retro. There are a lot of new young bands out there trying to capture that era’s feel and energy and Stampede are very much in that fold and this album should not just appeal to your average classic rock fan but also fans of bands like Black Stone Cherry.

One thing that will definitely make the band stand out is Reuben’s gritty yet highly melodic vocal style, personally I love Reuben’s vocals strong enough to rock out but also melodious enough to bring some fantastic vocal melodies to life throughout the album. Laurence’s solo’s are also a highlight as he never venture’s into self indulgence territory and just lays some killer line’s down. Obviously the massive swaggering riffs Laurence provides are the bands backbone and he provides some highly memorable, head nodding goodies on the album. A big shout out has to go out to some of the more subtle and intricate guitar work that goes on during many of the songs giving the songs a real depth and rich feel, some of my favourite music on the album is in the less obvious hook’s on many of the songs.

Opening cut “Send Me Down An Angel” is as anthemic as it gets, with a huge sing-along chorus, a traditional sounding song with a blues rock swaggering riff. I also like some of the lovely hook filled guitar licks in the chorus. A song I know for a fact goes down really well live and I’m sure it will become a stalwart of the band’s live set. “Jessie” has a killer blues rock riff, a really raw song full of energy. The style of this number really puts me in mind of Thunder. “Having Fun” is exactly that! A song that does what it says on the tin, a fantastically light hearted number and a real fun rockin’ tune. Laurence lays down another big swaggering riff and Reuben’s vocals really shine and hell who don’t love a song with plenty of sing along Na Na Na Na’s in hey?

“Make A Change” is a ballad which highlights Reuben’s soulful voice and really captures a 70’s classic rock feel. “Hard Rock Hell” is a brooding mid tempo rocker, very moody with vocals that augment that feel. “This Road” is a hard hitting rocker full of energy and swagger. This is another song which has a real traditional blues rock ambience to it.

My favourite song on the album is “Homeward Bound” a mid tempo rocker which is a melodic beast of a tune. Reuben’s powerful and soulful vocals excel and enchant on possibly the bands most melodic number. It contains an instant killer chorus and I really like the lyrics to this song. Listen out for some awesome intricate guitar work which is immense and catchy as hell; Laurence delivers some great melodic guitar work on the chorus as well as a standout solo. A song with some cracking melodies and a feel good factor to its sound.

“Shame On You” opens with a bang with some hook filled guitar’s and contains a massive rockin’ melodic chorus. Yet another song with an anthemic vibe and this is sure to be a storming live number. “Natural Disaster” has a raw energy, a beating blues rock song which is a real head bopper. “Humble Pie” is also very raw, a moody and retro blues rocker with some cool guitar work. Listen out for some fabulous vocal harmonies!

“Flaming Gold” is an atmospheric ballad. Reuben’s voice is amazing and powerful on this song. It’s a real standout track for the band with a killer melodic chorus which really sticks in your head. It also contains some wonderful intricate guitar work which complements the vocal melodies. There’s two bonus tracks, an acoustic version of “Flaming Gold” & “Recharged” which is an anthemic song about a hard working live band. I’m really shocked this track is a bonus track, its riff and anthemic chorus stand up with all the rest of the song's on offer here.

I think this album is essential for all fans of British Classic Rock in the vein of Thunder, UFO, Bad Company & Skin. It’s a solid album from beginning to end, no duffers or fillers in sight, just a damn fine collection of bluesy melodic hard rock. A great return from the band see’s an album full of energetic swaggering rock anthems and tender and beautiful ballads. I also highly recommend seeing the band live, after one listen to this you’ll hear straight away that this band’s music is born and created for the live arena.

Track Listing: Send Me Down An Angel / Jessie / Having Fun / Make A Change / Hard Rock Hell / This Road / Homeward Bound / Shame On You / Natural Disaster / Humble Pie / Flaming Gold / Recharged / Flaming Gold (acoustic)

Album Rating: 5/5

Woody’s Essential Track: Homeward Bound

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