Steel meets steel, storm meets storm! After MANOWAR recently weakened somewhat and produced much more headlines due to concert cancellations and other scandals than from highly acclaimed publications, it is time to speak about a succession to the throne for the title “Kings of Metal”. There are a few candidates – and with STORMBURNER a completely new candidate is entering the battlefield these days. Equipped with a contract from Pure Steel Records, an artwork by Ken Kelly (who, in addition to various MANOWAR artworks, also used KISS ‘”Destroyer” and RAINBOWs “Rising”), and ten freshly forged steel blades, the five Swedes want from the start implement their plan not to take prisoners.
Whistling on the already superfluous intro, instead the five Swedes gallop straight on their freshly saddled horses. Accompanied by a primal scream from the singer Mike Stark, it goes into a 48-minute battle post that tells of blood, honor and men lying in their arms. Real metal for real guys. Just like MANOWAR used to do before they got lost in their own magnificence and since then are not even a caricature of themselves.
But enough of that, STORMBURNER go their own way anyway. With a balanced mix of epic hymns and rapid metal grenades, the band grabs their listeners and captivates them. Although the songs are also technically sophisticated, you largely do without unnecessary junk. The bombast is largely reduced to the polyphonic choirs, which should be something like the trademark of the band. At this point we ask Mike Stark again in front of the curtain. What the young man delivers here is truly great cinema! Top screams, clear vocals, epic whispers – and all this far from the nerve-racking brand on which many similarly positioned singers of modern times fail miserably. Chapeau!
The surprise of the album, however, is that the songs get better and better as the playing time progresses. We all know the Schmähs, with which big and small bands fill the first five songs with killers and then just add more filler material to make the album full. Not so with “Shadow Rising”: “Rune Of The Dead” is my personal highlight. For that, the Kings Of Metal band mentioned at the beginning would probably consider a murder. And then comes “Ode To War”!
Where are the shadows that such a brightly shining, newly emerging star must inevitably cast? I personally would have liked a slightly richer sound. In terms of sound technology in particular, there is still room for improvement in terms of sound. The songwriting itself, although generally really very high-class, is not yet exceptional. Here, too, I trust the boys to go one step further. Overall, there is not much to grumble about. In any case, I’m already looking forward to hearing from STORMBURNER again sometime.
Read the review at Stormbringer.at (In German)