Bio: Stone Magnum is a five piece heavy metal/doom band from the Chicagoland area. We actually base our roots in Michigan City, Indiana, which is a stone’s throw away from Chicago. Drummer, Brad Toth and myself are the original founding members of the band since 2010. Along the way we have played with various musicians in this band, but currently have settled on a solid lineup consisting of Ben Elliot on bass, Jim Brucks on guitar and Nick Hernandez on vocals. We released our debut album in 2012, and at that time our lineup consisted of Marty Buchaus on bass, Brad, Jim, and I was handling vocal duties at that time. Our newest offering, From Time…To Eternity, saw some lineup changes where we added a permanent vocalist in Nick and Ben on bass. Brad, Ben and I all go back a number of years as friends. Brad was a local drummer who I’ve always wanted to play with, so it was cool to hook up with him when the idea to form this band came about. Ben and I have been friends for over 20 years and were labelmates on RIP Records when he was playing in Lordes Werre, and I was playing in Skullview. We used to shows together quite a bit back in the day with our respective bands. We found Jim after seeing him jamming in a Black Sabbath/Randy Rhoades cover band called Black Rhoades. We were in the market for a new lead guitar player and after seeing jim live we new he was the guy we wanted in the band. Nick has been a staple in the Chicago scene for quite a long time as a vocalist for such bands as Dysphoria and Kommandant. After his departure from Kommandant, we snatched up Nick to take over vocal duties for Stone Magnum.
Genre: We didn’t really choose the genre of doom metal…it just kind of chose us. First and foremost, Stone Magnum is a heavy metal band through and through. With our slower tempos, foreboding atmosphere and riffing, we were best described as doom metal when it came to categorization. We’ll take that genre categorization, because Doom Metal is a great segment of heavy metal music. In fact, it can be argued that the first heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, was a doom metal band. Perhaps real heavy metal is the genre of doom metal and all other genres branched off of it. It just so happens that the sounds we make as a band fall into this category.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: I began writing songs a few years ago in my studio. I was just working on ideas for another project I was involved in at that time, but things weren’t turning out the way I had envisioned for that other band. Things were much more depressive, doomy and negative sounding than what the other band was accustomed to. So for a while I just had fun making this music which was so much different than what I was doing in the other band. After letting RIP Records hear the demos of what was being put together, they offered the chance to release an album with these new songs. At that point shows began being booked and there still wasn’t really a band yet. So the pressure was on to find some players, write more songs, and basically create this new band. Stone Magnum was the result, and here we are three and half years later still rolling along.
Ideas about the album: We are proud of both of our full length releases. When we recorded the first album, we knew we had some strong songs, but we always felt the vocals were the weak link. This led us to make our first step toward improving the band and we got Nick involved in the band. With the addition of Nick, and Ben in the band we put together this new album, From Time…To Eternity, and some more doors were opened in our creative endeavors. I think it shows on this new album how much our songrwriting has improved. There are always room for improvement, whether it be in songwriting, production values, lyrics, or just the performance itself. As of yet, we haven’t began working on new material for the third release, so we haven’t really figured out yet where we need improvement. But it will all come along with time.
Reception: So far the response from people who have heard Stone Magnum has been phenomenal. It seems as though we are doing something right musically, as people really seem to like what we are doing. The hard part right now is getting our name out to the metal public so they know we exist. Everyday we are picking up new fans, so that is encouraging. Our newest Album, From Time…To Eternity is getting some really great reviews…nice compliments, and we’re getting mentioned alongside some really historic and influential bands in the heavy metal/doom scene as far as the quality of the music on that album. That is a huge compliment and welcomed reception in our eyes.
Preference; live or studio: Seeing as we really haven’t embarked on a tour yet for this band, we can’t really comment on how exciting that would be for us. We’d sure like to find out. For us, just getting together, turning up the amplifiers nice and loud and jamming together is exciting and always a welcomed experience for the guys in this band. This is what we like to do… jam heavy metal music.
Next step; live or studio: We’ve always been somewhat active playing live shows. That’s basically why the band formed… We had shows booked before the band was ever assembled. We do 4 or 5 shows a year typically, which is cool enough for us. The aim is to get bigger and better shows however… Internationally once or twice a year would be great for us.
We perform in the Chicago scene a couple times a year, but it would be nice to expand and branch out our reaches further away from home. This fall/winter, we’ll be heading out to the East Coast for a couple of dates and hope to build on that.
Future plans: As far as the future goes for Stone Magnum, we don’t really worry about that too much. We know this much….we’ll still be jamming and making music. If it goes anywhere beyond that we really cannot predict. We’d like to play bigger and better shows around the globe and continue releasing kick ass heavy metal music. That’s all we can really count on at this time.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: Most of the lyrical themes and concepts are based on dark and foreboding topics. Anti-religious, other worldly, and frightening experiences all seem to make their way into our subject matter. We deal with subjects of mental illness, insanity, and supernatural forces. All in all, anything that is disturbing, woeful, and bleak can find its way into our lyrics.
Composers: Everyone in the band takes liberties in writing the songs that you hear on our albums. Everyone contributes their score in each of the songs. Lyrically, Nick and Myself are the main lyric writers.
Inspirations: We could list literally hundreds of bands that we are influenced by. Whether any of these bands inspire us is another question altogether. What inspires us is making cool songs that we enjoy. Influentially, we can cite such bands as Candlemass, Black Sabbath, UFO, Ted Nugent, Megaslaughter, Autopsy, Unleashed, Judas Priest, Pentagram, and hundreds of others.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Seeing as our audience is still quite small…I would have to say that the music is the most important thing for us right now. But of course, with our small audience, there are certain people who support us that we really aim to make sure won’t be disappointed when they hear our music. Real heavy metal maniacs like Calvin Shaffer, Stephane Le Saux, Big Jim Sutton, At this point, it is our duty to continue churning out material that gets the approval from these metal maniacs! If we find guys like this don’t approve of what we are doing, then we will know what we are doing is not up to standard. They’ve supported us since the beginning, so it is important that we continue to support the likes of them with musical integrity.
Greatest Accomplishment: Personally, my musical “career” has been pretty robust in the underground. I’ve been involved in a number of bands who have released quite a number of albums. Bands such as Skullview, Black Funeral, Invasion. Have had some opportunities to play shows with some great bands from all different genres over the last 20 years. Every band had it’s highlights. Going to Europe to play festivals…partying with Rob and Lips from Anvil, becoming friends with King Fowley…all great experiences in my book. But the biggest accomplishment was just having the opportunity to do what I love to do…playing heavy metal music.
Anything else? Thanks for the opportunity to tell the Stone Magnum story to your readers. We hope that people enjoy what we are doing as much as we are enjoying doing it. Our releases are available from Rest In Peace Records. We are awaiting the release of a special double CD in Europe on Witches Brew Records. This new release will offer our début album for the first time on CD, along with From Time…To Eternity. World Doomination has Commenced… The Dictators Of Doom are heading your way!