Review – Stormburner – “Shadow Rising” from Drużyna Spolszczenia (7,6/10)

This is the debut of the formation from Stockholm, founded in 2016, in which the frontman is known from STEEL ATTACK and STARBLIND Micke Stark. So Stark sings for the second time in a new band, which, however, stylistically is closer to STEEL ATTACK, where he played the drums. Other band members are less known, but bassist Tommy Jee can also be heard on the only LP heavy metal band SKELLINGTON from 2007, and Mats Hedström in the gothic metal band FURIAM. The album was released in December 2019 by Pure Steel Records.

Without going too deep into the question of how STORMBURNER fits into the mainstream neotraditional heavy metal in Sweden in the mainstream commercial mainstream, it must be said at once that this is a definite reference to STEEL ATTACK from the pre-Hemlinic era and certainly to what he played through the last ten years of WOLF, and in recent years of AIR RAID. It is a very traditional heavy metal, anchored in the arrangements and style of the 80s melody, definitely more pure than STEELWING or KATANA style crews and it is certainly honest and true sound. And there are a lot of references to the MANOWAR style, especially in the second part of the album.

Surely you have to give Stark the fact that he sings very well here and once again confirms that he is as good a drummer as a singer, especially when the compositions are traditional in a heavy metal style. That’s what they are like here, except that for years traditional Swedish heavy metal has been struggling with the fundamental problem of creating an attractive and genuinely captivating material and probably only AIR RAID is a notable exception. Fortunately, STORMBURNER doesn’t at least focus on overly aggressive sound and you listen to all this without signs of fatigue by overly roaring guitars and the general impression of creating an aggressive climate for strength. However, it is difficult to consider this set of compositions as particularly memorable, it has all been somewhere before, it was in We Burn, Metal In the Night and in Shadow Rising. Moderate tempo, moderately simple design, typical backing vocals and rather typical, medium-class guitar solos. The rhythm section also doesn’t really shine here and the drummer’s playing is rather conservative and lethargic.

Definitely great high dramatic singing saves from monotony slower songs in epic expressions such as Demon Fire, while definitely stands out barbaric and true metal Ragnarök. On the other hand, the manovary Men at Arms is just simply good at trying to recreate the classic American style of the 80s. Solid, but somehow very German in this simplicity of presentation. This can also be said about Eye of the Storm. Well, you listen to it well, but you are far from delight. A very good chorus appears in the rhythmic and dynamic Into the Storm, but considerable schematism is in it all and only the dignified, steady Rune of the Dead offers a bit more, but only a bit, because as I mentioned before it was all already.

The ending is excellent. Ode to War is a genuinely epic song with choirs, monumental, supported by symphony and full of true expression vocal by Stark. Pride, elevated mood, solemn battle atmosphere. Grade! What a pity that STORMBURNER did not go this way more compositions, because we would receive true heavy from the top shelf. And yes it is simply a solid album inspired by MANOWAR and classic Swedish power / heavy from the leading heavy teams from this country.

The album was produced by … Ronny Hemlin. He produced it very well, mainly because the sound is real and not packed with technical novelties, classic and legible. One more reason to compare with STEEL ATTACK.

Main actor – Micke Stark and recognition for excellent vocals on this album. I get the impression that this band has not yet said the last word, we will hear about it in the future and, what’s more, we will hear better compositions than on just a good album.

Read teh full review at Drużyna Spolszczenia (In Polish)