Album Reviews

Stormwarrior – Thunder & Steele Review

stormwarrior_cover

Released By: Massacre Records

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Genre: Power Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/STORMWARRIOR.Official

 

Line Up:

Lars Ramcke – Vocals/Guitars

Alex Guth – Guitars

Yenz Leonhardt – Bass

Jörg Uken – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. Thunder & Steele

2. Metal Avenger

3. Sacred Blade

4. Ironborn

5. Fyres In The Nighte

6. Steelcrusader

7. Die By The Hammer

8. One Will Survive

9. Child Of Fyre

10. Servants Of Metal

 

Germany’s Stormwarrior is not a hard band to figure out stylistically, not in the least. Looking through their discography, connections to Gamma Ray and Helloween are obvious, with Kai Hansen himself producing and making guest appearances on their first two albums, while Piet Sielck helped mix their 2008 album Heading Northe, and mixed and mastered their fifth full length album Thunder & Steele, which is the subject of this review.

Knowing this information, one wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Stormwarrior plays true German power metal of the most pure and traditional kind, with a large emphasis on speed and guitar riffs, and with all subtlety thrown completely out the window, which is fine because power metal is meant to be insanely fun and epic, and in that regard Thunder & Steele is a huge success.

Fans new to the band can expect something along the lines of mid period Gamma Ray, and especially Walls Of Jericho era Helloween, meaning everything sounds like it came straight from the mid to late 80’s, though obviously the production is up to modern standards. Musically there’s nothing complex or innovative here, but the performances are very energetic across the board, and the songs are all amazing and very catchy. With one exception, the songs are all super fast, which is just how power metal fans love it, and they all have an ideal mix of heavy riffs that will get you banging your head, and epic choruses that will have you singing along. There’s no ballads or no experiments with other genres, nor are there any epic length tracks. Instead, it’s as pure a power metal album as you can possibly find, with the band’s main influences shining through on every track, and everything is executed as well it possibly can be, so fans of pure power metal and speed metal are sure to absolutely love this album.

Even the vocals are clearly inspired by the godfathers of German power metal, as vocalist/guitarist/band leader Lars Ramcke constantly sounds like he’s channelling his inner Kai Hansen , and he does a very good job of it. His epic vocal delivery fits the style of the music perfectly, and he especially shines on “Child Of Fyre”, which is the one slower song on the album, so it gives his voice a bit more room to come out. But of course, he’s still just as good on songs like the title track and “Steelcrusader”.

The band wastes no time with intros, as the album comes roaring out of the gates with the epic title track, and never lets up. “Thunder & Steele” is a perfect example of what the rest of the album sounds like, as it’s ridiculously fast, straight-forward, no-nonsense power metal played with an insane amount of energy that easily makes up for the lack of originality, as it’s simply too fun a song to not enjoy, and the same applies to the entire album. Oh, and for those unfamiliar with Stormwarrior, that “e” at the end is intentional, as the band has their own unique vocabulary where with certain words they’ll add an “e” at the end, or in other words they might replace an “i” with a “y”. I mention this to make this review less confusing, as two of my other favorite songs are “Fyres In The Night”, which is just ridiculously epic, and “Child Of Fyre”, which as I mentioned above is the only slower song on the album, though it’s still as epic as the rest of the album, and if anything I think it has the best, most sing-along worthy chorus on the entire album. The longest song on an album is often the best, and the same applies here, as “One Will Survive” has all the speed and energy of the rest of the album, but it feels like the band kicked up an extra notch as it seems to resonate even stronger than the rest. The extended solo section in the middle is certainly awesome.

So the bottom line is fans of Stormwarrior’s discography, as well as fans of pure German power metal along the lines of Gamma Ray and Helloween are highly recommended to get Thunder & Steele, as it really is as good a classic power metal album as you could possibly hope for at this point, while anyone else should probably avoid it, because it doesn’t do anything new or different that would change your mind if you’re not already a fan. Personally, as a fan of this style I actually find it refreshing to hear a band that sticks so firmly to their roots, even today.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

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