March 30, 2019, the time had come: MANOWAR honored the venerable Dortmund Westfalenhalle with their “The Final Battle World Tour”. Meanwhile, it is clear that Joey, Eric and rental musician as a live band, despite the misleading title of their concert tour still far from throwing the fur pants in the corner. Anyone who has experienced the gentlemen on the said evening may even be happy about it: Although the setlist was not perfect, there were enough magical moments to show why MANOWAR are a very special band for many to this day. My voice was gone …
Admittedly, the paint is not completely off, but enormously damaged: The last studio albums of the true metal institution could reach the class of the 1980s masterpieces such as “Into Glory Ride” or “Hail To England” by far. At this point STORMBURNER come into play: The quintet from Sweden makes the sometimes long-suffering Manowarrior happy with a debut album, which I bark at without commenting on the best MANOWAR-like album since “Kings Of Metal” (1988). Both the cover art and the song titles reveal a closeness to the Americans, which seems a bit strange at first glance. However, BLAZON STONE have repeatedly proven in recent years, with their pronounced RUNNING WILD-Worshipping, that it is sometimes worthwhile to give epigones a chance when the original has been weakening for half an eternity.
Listening to Shadow Rising, however, quickly reveals that STORMBURNER are self sufficient enough to take them seriously as creative musicians. On their first long iron, they present ten high-quality songs that are undoubtedly inspired by MANOWAR. However, the Swedes succeed in creating a new taste-rich brew with an addictive factor on this basis. In general, STORMBURNER press more frequently on the gas pedal – epic, dragging passages and radio play elements play no significant role here. Fortunately, the band did without kitsch ballads with Fremdschämfaktor completely, so that the humorous True Metal party – also thanks to a punchy sound garb – can continue undisturbed. If Mr. DeMaio had continued after “Kings Of Metal” …
Singer Mike Stark is not Eric Adams. But his last name is program: he has an expressive, variable voice that sounds pleasant even in the highs. From time to time he bows to the singing god from the House of MANOWAR (you hear in this regard ‘Eye Of The Storm’ and ‘Rune Of The Dead’), but he has his own style, which I like very much. If Stark also acts live at this level, STORMBURNER should soon start a remarkable triumph in the underground. The guitarists Mats Hedström and Tommi Korkeamäki also know how to please: They cut out more memorable riffs to just under 49 minutes than MANOWAR in the past three decades. The rhythm section around Tommy Jee (bass) and Stefan Essmyren (drums) also contributes to the listening pleasure, which inevitably leads to the actuation of the repeat button after the last sounds of the final ‘Ode To War’.
It’s hard for me to pick out highlights, as “Shadow Rising” thrills from start to finish. The aforementioned ‘Ode To War’ with its orchestral elements is the epic piece of the album with its heroic choirs: goose bumps! The much simpler knitted ‘Ragnarök’ invites you to Fistraisen … oh, what am I writing here: At the first hearing, I’m like the last dork blissful and jumped completely impudent through the apartment! Or was that at the famous ‘Demon Fire’? Oh yeah, from now on, every Heavy Metal record could start with ‘We Burn’: If the five guys soon use the track as a concert opener, after four minutes there will be only scorched earth in the front rows: “Blood is painting all the heavens! We Burn, We Burn! “
In conclusion, STORMBURNER are not for fine spirits. In too elitist circles one should smile only tired the Swedes. Nothing is reinvented here – and many things are in fact bad cheesy. But: I’m completely indifferent to that! I did not hear a record this year, which was so much fun when I first heard it. “Shadow Rising” is pure adrenaline – and the proof of why Heavy Metal is the most wonderful music on this planet: STORMBURNER sweep away all everyday worries and put you into a frenzy. We are ‘Men At Arms’ – and like the muscled hero on the album cover invincible. Hail and kill!
Read the review at bleeding4metal (In German)