Time for debut album for the Swedish Stormburner, a Stockholm-based band, set up in 2016 by guitarist Tommi Korkeamäki and Mike Stark, formerly Starblind’s voice, and spent as a drummer in Sadauk and the most famous Steel Attack. The disc (available on CD, digital download and vinyl limited to 300 copies) is titled “Shadow Rising” and has piqued my interest since the first info about it released by their Pure Steel Records label: the fascinating cover by Ken Kelly – artist already working with Manowar, Rainbow and Kiss, and whose works have also accompanied the release of bands like Elwing, Solemnity and many others – he certainly did his part and I don’t think it’s difficult to guess what they can ever play (a warrior who wields an ax on a drakkar and a dragon that pierces the sail leave doubts?), but it is only recently that Stormburner has been discovered as the main factor that has tickled my curiosity .. never heard before , not even by mistake!
Obviously, the next step was to throw myself headlong into the audience, re-emerging as satisfied as after having gulped down a cold beer in a summer afternoon canicular: the Stormburners pour heart and skill into a traditional heavy metal combative, where power and melody they blend and originate energetic songs and with an excellent live shot, permeated by evocative and chorus-rich atmospheres with a rapid grasp, those to be sung at the top of one’s voice and with fists to the sky.
The influences come from both America and the old continent – the magniloquent steel of the Manowar eighties (primary source of inspiration), a hint of Omen muscle, the bewitching melodies of the late 90s Swedish metal (they reminded me of the Nocturnal Rites) and the vigor of the Judas Priest – and are filtered with taste and ability in ten lively and enthralling pieces, such as the powerful and fast opener “We Burn”, the solid titletrack that opens on an airy and choral refrain, the atmospheres solemn of the evocative “Ode To War”, the mighty epic of “Rune Of The Dead” on which one cannot help but slam the skull in time; to mention also the overwhelming “Eye Of The Storm” and “Demon Fire”, a song that starts quietly with voice and guitar before it explodes in all its power: here there is also a more cadenced and decidedly heavy passage that leads us to a furious final rip.
In my opinion, the pinnacle of the record can be touched halfway through the tracklist with the deadly “Ragnarök” and “Men At Arms” (the latter screams Manowar with full lungs), a double anthem that condenses the sound essence of the Stormburners: songs powerful and melodic, incisive and strong of great chorus that leaves no way out! As for the musicians, Mike Stark deserves a special mention: if on “Darkest Horrors” and “Dying Son” by Starblind I had the feeling that he moved within well defined vocal posts, on “Shadow Rising” the excellent Mike leaves completely free his voice by showing off a capital and very effective test!
Net of what has been written so far, I can say that “Shadow Rising” represents a valid debut for the Scandinavian quintet: they have certainly not discovered the hot water, but create a tonic and engaging album which, once it has come to an end, leaves a beautiful smile on his face and the desire to listen to him again, again! Congratulations to Stormburners and recommended purchase!
By Luca Avalon from Heavy Metal Webzine. Read the full interview (In Italian)