Track By Tracks: Stoner Kings - Alpha Male (2020)


1. Fucked A.D.:

Fucked A.D. is the opening track off of our new Alpha Male album. Its central message regards the smoke and mirrors of both modern-day disinformation, as well as the plethora of lies that we are fed on a daily basis through the powers that be and the media at large.

Fucked A.D.'s most poignant line has to be "You wanted relative meanings, whatever fit in your mold, but now you're reaping the whirlwind, you're house of cards gonna fold."

Fucked A.D. is the one of the faster songs on the album. It's laced with punkish attitude and a very angry stomp. The chorus is pure gold and catchy as hell, to boot.

Fucked A.D. is inconvenient truth, a song that is as much a statement as it is a punch in the face.

2. Bray With The Damned:

Bray With The Damned may very well be the most commercial cut on the new Stoner Kings album, Alpha Male. With a super-catchy chorus and a deep grooving main riff, this song forces the hips the sway and heads to bang.

The message here tells of self-deception and how we, as people, try to hide away from facing the truth and attending the day of reckoning. In general, people are relentless bullshit artists, who seek what is convenient for them at any given point.

Bray With The Damned takes no prisoners and shows no mercy in tearing apart the fallacy of this line of thinking. Band vocalist Michael "StarBuck" Majalahti wrote this song over six years ago, originally as Cubase demo, using drum library samples from Aerosmith skinsman Joey Kramer and playing the guitars and laying down the vocals himself. Stoner Kings bassist Rude Rothsten played the bass even at that time on the demo.

"I always had a feeling I'd record this song for real one day," Michael states. "It was high time once we started laying down tracks for our third album and I saw that this was the prime moment to make that a reality. I'm glad we immortalized it."

3. Damnation's Own:

Damnation's Own was originally written and recorded in 2007 under the third line-up of Stoner Kings, which featured Michael Majalahti on vocals as the only original band member, Petteri Hirvanen on guitar, Harri Rasanen on drums and Rude Rothsten on bass.

"That was a tumultuous time," tells Michael. "I folded what remained of the original line-up in late 2006 after the tour we did to support our second album, Fuck The World, that year. I just felt the guys in the band no longer had their heart in the game and getting on the same page was damn near impossible, so I relaunched Stoner Kings with a set of new players."

The 2007-2008 line-up of Stoner Kings recorded a set of demos at Tampere's Fantom Studios in 2007 under the auspices of Samu Oittinen as engineer. Amongst the fruits of these recordings was Damnation's Own, a song telling of a person who has willingly made the wrong choices in their life, taking them down the road to ruin, regardless of the lifesavers thrown their way.

"The gem here is the chorus, which has a very melodic hook." songwriter Michael continues. "But I also have a specific affinity toward the main riff, which is very jerky and rhythmic. It's a good song." Damnation's Own has now been officially laid down on tape and it's hot off the press to enjoy on the new Stoner Kings Alpha Male album! 

4. Green Machine:

Green Machine was originally recorded by stoner rock legends Kyuss for their second album back in 1992 called Blues For The Red Sun. The song stands as one of the most recognized pieces of the entire stoner rock and stoner metal genre, as does Kyuss, as one of the "Big 3" of the scene, alongside Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu back in the '90s.

"I'd wanted to cover this song for a long time," states Stoner Kings vocalist and songwriter Michael Majalahti. "It's one that hasn't been covered to death already and we felt the song could really use an update. I heartily dare say we did more than justice to the original."

With an updated sound, better production values and Stoner Kings producer Hannu Leiden making the call to place the vocal harmony in the chorus on the first half, versus the second half of the section, as Kyuss originally had done, this new version of Green Machine sounds powerfully potent.

"A lot of our critics ragged on us in the past for calling ourselves the Stoner Kings while not presenting the typical, mantric, laid back and drudgy desert rock vibe." Michael elaborates. "Well, listen to the original version of Green Machine. It's not bong-tripping haziness. It's full of attitude and punch. That's where our sound lies, so this was more than an apropos choice." 

5. Down To Zero:

Down To Zero was written about 5-6 years back by band vocalist Michael Majalahti. Michael even had his Angel of Sodom band guitarist Eero Tertsunen lay down a demo of the track on Cubase, which could be used as a sample to showcase to the band once recording time came around.

This song carries a peculiar, almost Nirvana-like main riff. It's downcast, yet at the same time, upbeat. The crowning element here, though, is the guesting lead and guitar solo by Alexi Laiho from Children Of Bodom.

"Alexi is an old friend, and he also guested on the solo of a song off of our 2006 album, Fuck The World." explains Michael. "I was stumped as to what to do to push this song past the mundane level where I kind of felt it was without a good lead and solo. After a bit of deliberation, I reached out to Alexi and asked if he could cook something up. The man is a literal guitar genius, as the world already knows, so it was a task perfect for him. He pulled it off in spades and took this song to killer status!" 

6. Cro-Magnon:

With a monsterous, intimidating main riff that carries the song and a punchy chorus that makes you want to shake your fist and move your hips, Cro-Magnon has fast become a live set mainstay, even before the band recorded the song. 

"It's an absolute killer," remarks band vocalist Michael Majalahti. "Plus, it's an absolute statement in and of itself. The message here is visceral and clear. The overall intonation behind the album title, Alpha Male, is echoed the most through this song, which balks and laughs at our modern era's attacks on traditional masculinity and claims of anything even remotely male in the classic vein as being toxic, as they love to color it."

Even Children of Bodom vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho has made the statement that this is the most potent Stoner Kings song that he has ever heard. We covered Alexi's contribution to the Alpha Male album in our last Track-by-Track of the song, Down To Zero.

"We're not here to be politically correct and bend over backwards in the attempts of pleasing people," says Michael. "We're here to bring back the core of rebellion to rock music in general, as rock has lost its original heart and soul, bowing out in fear to the mass opinion of the media and public at large. Rock was meant to swim against the tide, since day one. That's exactly what Cro-Magnon resonates." 

7. Demon Cloak:

There was a time when Stoner Kings were considering adding a Hammond player to the band line-up, circa. 2003. At the time, riff rock heavyweights like Spiritual Beggars were tearing it up with Hammond a strong part of their musical fare. It was a point to ponder, for sure.

On Stoner Kings' second album, Fuck The World, from 2006, the songs all had Hammond integrated into them, played by Eero Kaukomies (formerly of GAMMA RAY (Official)). Eero was not a band member, instead he performed as a session musician, offering a piece of the puzzle that Stoner Kings otherwise did not offer live.

With Alpha Male, Stoner Kings' third album, the only song that features Hammond is Demon Cloak. It's also the longest song on the album, clocking in at almost six minutes.

Demon Cloak tells the story of Satan's fall from an allegoric perspective, rich in undertones that lend from Uriah Heep and Deep Purple. In this way, it's perhaps the most radio-friendly song on Alpha Male, not counting its length.

Demon Cloak features Mikko Rintanen of Wigwam and Royals fame on Hammond. Be sure to do yourself a favor and check it out! This one has '70s vibes plastered all over it. 

8. Born Of Ape?:

This song was inspired by the obvious fallacies of Darwinism, which has changed faces so many times over the decades that it bears no constant. With the scientific community at large adopting Darwinism back in the day as the toted company line of choice, this form of social engineering became the accepted sociological norm from academia onward to pop culture.

Born Of Ape? challenges and defies Darwinism at its core, making one ask that were the teaching true, why would monkeys still walk the Earth alongside humans today after all of the proposed billions of years of evolution?

Born Of Ape? was musically penned originally by guitarist Petteri Hirvanen, who was the six-stringer for the third incarnation of Stoner Kings between 2007-2008, with lyrics concocted by band vocalist Michael Majalahti.

Born Of Ape? is a catchy, chunky, groovy number with a definitive commercial swagger to it. The chorus is a keeper and the message is bound to infuriate, charm and/or just garner a response in general, no matter your personal beliefs or leanings as to the origins of the human species.

Rock music was once rebellious, counter-culture and against the grain. So is Born Of Ape? off of Alpha Male. 

9. Bringing Out The Dead:

Of all the songs on the new Alpha Male album, Bringing Out The Dead was written literally in the final phases of recording, much like Metallica's entire St. Anger album.

The band tried arranging several demos written by band songwriter and vocalist Michael "StarBuck" Majalahti over the years, but none of them seemed to fall into place with the overall vibe of the material otherwise recorded for Alpha Male. Thus, Michael had a riff that he'd been working on, which the band expanded and orchestrated into a whole song.

Bringing Out The Dead carries somewhat of a Corrosion Of Conformity vibe, with the vocals reminiscent of Pepper Keenan's delivery. It's a very groovy number with dark undertones. There's something almost Marilyn Manson-like in the tone of the chorus line. The bridge of this song is altogether different and more weighty than the vibe of the composition otherwise.

At the very least, Bringing Out The Dead is one of the most experimental songs ever written by Stoner Kings, and stands out on those merits alone.

10. Universal:

"Universal was written back in 2003 and recorded as a demo that year." tells Stoner Kings band vocalist Michael Majalahti. "It has such a great main riff that I had it stowed away for safe-keeping. Finally, once we got around to recording this third Alpha Male album, I knew we had to include it."

If anything can be construed as a true nod-to-Sabbath riff, Universal is exactly that. It's like an updated throwback. "It sounds like something Spiritual Beggars would have written about 20 years ago, and that's purely a positive thing." Michael adds.

Universal recants a hypothetical view of eternity, post-mortem. It enters and entertains the plausible human emotion of realizing that once time is over and the soul enters eternity, the weightiness of the never-ending ever-after then sets in. Really, Universal is a daunting, albeit taunting, track, making the listener truly wonder "What if?".

Enjoy the ride, as this number grooves like nobody's business and stomps like a T-Rex out for blood. 

11. Bigger Louder Harder:

Bigger Louder Harder is the album closer on Alpha Male, and it's only apropos that a song resonating such a strong statement is placed as the finale of an opus such as this.

It was Stoner Kings producer Hannu Leiden that claimed this song reminded him of Metallica, and we're not sure how to take that. Not only are Stoner Kings and Metallica from totally different metal sub-genres, but any such similarity is purely coincidental.

"Bigger Louder Harder is a hearty, snarky rebuttal to all of those, that have opposed us since our beginnings for carrying the name that we have." states band frontman Michael Majalahti. "Some folks just can't wrap their heads around how some band has the audacity to call themselves the Stoner Kings. It's as if they take it as a personal affront to the genre's bigwigs from back in the day like Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu. We never claimed any such insurrection or inclination, but the haters just never got it. Therefore, I felt I owed our detractors one more hymn, and here it is in unapologetic fashion!" 

Bigger Louder Harder is audacious, brazen and hostile all at the same time. It takes no prisoners and bows to no one. It's soul is metallic, it's drive is unrelenting and it's mantra is clear: Stoner Kings aren't here to play nice. We're here to make our mark and stake our own claim.

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