Review – Stormburner – “Shadow Rising” from Rocka Rolla

Do you like traditional heavy metal punctuated by the lyrics of true and the melody of European power? 

Do you like the refrains between the hymnic and the epic? Do you like singers who display a solvent range of registers that go from clean to ripped, from whispered to high-pitched, and who are capable of uttering razor-sharp notes impossible for the rest of us to reach? 

Well pay attention, maybe Stormburner is the band you’ve been waiting for … 

The quintet was formed in Stockholm in 2016 by vocalist Mike Stark and guitarist Tommi Korkeamäki who were later joined by bassist Tommy Jee and drummer Stefan Essmyren and, later, guitarist Mats Hedström, adding together a long history in bands like Starblind, Steel Attack, Sadauk, Blazing Guns, Furiam or Skellington. In “Shadow Rising”, their tremendous debut, the Swedes fuse with their instruments the incorruptible power of classic heavy metal with the speed of German power and compose epic-drenched choral refrains that speak of battles, war, death, blood, storms and that you will sing loudly and with your fist raised. 

The epic short melody that begins We Burn is immediately cut off by Mike Stark’s high-pitched (a hybrid cross between Eric Adams and Daniel Heiman) that gives way to the direct riff and powerful double kick that takes us all the way to the chorus where the choruses accompany the lead vocal, proving to be an excellent touchstone for a storm that will not abate. The next two tracks, Metal In The Night and Shadow Rising , do not slow down and continue to keep the heavy metal indicators at the highest level with galloping guitars, martial drums, incendiary verses and steely highs. 

Demon Fire begins with mild acoustic notes and a harsh recitation that gives way to a thick riff and Stark doubling his voice in a few verses with sharp background choruses. Ragnarök is a spectacular Viking epic halftime with a double bass drum and a pulsing guitar rhythm that command the theme until the crash of the bellicose chorus.Men At Arms is a piece with an excellent guitar melody and a colossally hymnic main stanza, where Manowar’s influence, especially in Mike’s singing, is clearly displayed. Some of the classic Eric Adams resources are also present in Eye Of The Storm , another round track with a very hard beginning, while Into The Storm has throbbing guitars and another verse to sing until you get your voice. 

Rune Of The Dead is a sublime halftime of heavy riff that reaches solemnity with the background choruses that support the epic central tune, and in the ending Ode To War it is the choral voices that take all the protagonism in the first bars until the irruption of the entire band to face the memorable chorus.Stormburner’s proposal is well known and is aimed at a very specific audience who do not walk with half measures. Fans of Manowar (the band’s main influence), Lost Horizon, Enforcer, Manimal or Hammerfall shouldn’t overlook this “Shadow Rising”: being a debut feature, it’s hard to beat.

Review by Javier Salaverry

Read the interview at Rocka Rolla Web Zine (In Spanish)