Formed a mere three years ago by vocalist Mike Stark and rhythm guitarist Tommi Korkeamaki, the duo began methodically recruiting like-minded metal enthusiasts to create Stormburner. Bass player Tommy Jee and drummer Stefan Essmyren became their rhythm section. Then the foursome committed themselves to jamming and writing strong songs. When Mats Hedstrom joined as lead guitarist, Stormburner committed themselves to the studio to create their debut album, Shadow Rising, recorded and produced by Ronny Hemlin (Tad Morose, Steel Attack).
Essentially, Stormburner plays traditional, keep it true, heavy power metal. To that end, Stormburner offers you twin guitar harmony and thrilling guitar solos, over the gallop and groove of a steady rhythm section, with vocalist Mike Stark offering clean, strong, and melodic vocals, yet often high pitched and screamo. Stark is backed up by a heavy metal standard, gang vocals, notable within Men At Arms and Shadow Rising. Lyrical themes are also heavy metal standards: war, warriors, metal brotherhood, and Viking lore.
With Shadow Rising, you get ten songs clocking at nearly 50 minutes. For most songs, it’s a leap from the starting block with a rush of riffs, a singular rising guitar line, galloping groove, before arriving at a Hedstrom guitar solo. Fine examples include Into The Storm, We Burn, and Metal In The Night. Conversely, for songs like Shadow Rising or Ragnarok, tempo and groove can settle down for my heavy steady metal. Or to trip you up, the start of Demon Fire offers voice with acoustic guitar, suggesting something more tame. Nope. Never trust a metal song that starts slow. Demon Fire quickly rises into a razor sharp, riff roaring, metal number. The album closes with the metal anthem, Ode To War which turns mostly on vocal harmony over bass and drums within a slow moving arrangement. All said, with their strong debut album, Shadow Rising, Stormburner keeps the flag of “keep it true” heavy metal flying high. Recommended.
By Craig Hartranft
Read the review at Dangerdog Music Reviews