Stunner – Turbo City Review

With list season getting into full swing, we find ourselves going back and looking for things we may have missed or overlooked earlier in the year. Sometimes, in this process, a discovery just stands out as being one that hits home. Gainesville, Florida’s heavy metal sons Stunner did just this, as they unleashed their debut full-length on the world this past June following last year’s Nightfighter EP. Turbo City expands on the band’s hard rockin’ blend of traditional and speed metals to create a fun, full-throttle adventure through the seedy underbelly of Turbo City, which can only be imagined as a neon-lit metropolis yanked straight from the later bronze age of DC comics.

Release date: June 13, 2018. Label: Self-released.
Stunner take their first glimpse of Turbo City with the aptly-titled “Steppin Out,” a fast burner of a track that sets the pace for the rest of the record. High-energy riffing complete with pinch harmonics oozing with attitude married with chunky bass and pounding drums make for a strong first impression, and it only gets better from here. The vocals may appear a bit dry at first, but with repeat listens they make for an incredibly easy sing-along experience. This is actually an advantage, because every song is not just catchy, but infectious; just try to put on the title track without singing along. And speaking of “Turbo City,” it has an uncanny ability to transform any vehicle in which you are listening to it into a totally bitchin’ ‘78 Trans Am as you find yourself hauling through the streets, skidding through alleyways, and burning rubber to evade the evil forces taking over the city itself.

“Lone Wanderer” takes us to the wasteland outskirts of the city and delivers another defiant and empowered anthem along with one of the more blistering guitar solos on the record. It amps up the listener for a release on “Off The Rails,” which starts with more of that chunky bass and palm-muted guitar that build up along with the realization that it is up to us to take back to Turbo City from the evil legions that are tearing it apart. The vocals have an angry yet determined bark seething for vengeance, while the music keeps with he fun-spirited nature of the whole album.

 

The Trans Am has been swapped for a roaring hog of a motorcycle on “Wheels Of Fire.” (Spoiler alert: it is not a Manowar cover). The neon glow of the oncoming city reflects off the chrome of the bike as the guitar revs like the engine into the night for one of the most fun and free-spirited tracks on the album. “Into The Night” calls forth the troops for the final battle of Turbo City, crying out in triumphant verse:

Heavy metal warriors
We are all soldiers
Gathered with our weapons
Armed for the war
And to our rivals
There is no quarter
We stand for battle
And we’re ready for more!

Stunner have managed to create a gem of a find with Turbo City—an all-out, no-holds-barred romp of a rock ‘n’ roll heavy metal album that doesn’t hold back or take prisoners. Their songwriting ability seems to flow naturally, creating songs that tap into the feel-good, uplifting nature of groups like High Spirits, Hell Fire, and Satan’s Hallow. Stunner fight their way through to claim their spot amongst those who remember what made so many of us fall in love with heavy metal in the first place: fast, fun, empowering music that can take you anywhere you can imagine.

Posted by Ryan Tysinger

I listen to music, then I write about it. On Twitter @d00mfr0gg (Outro: The Winds Of Mayhem)

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