Stormwarrior - Northern Rage - 2005 - Magick Records
1. And The Northwinde Bloweth 2. Heroic Deathe 3. Valhalla 4. The Last Fyre 5. Welcome Thy Rite 6. Odinn's Warriors 7. Bloode Eagle 8. Sigrblot 9. The Foreign Shores 10. Lindisfarne 11. Iron Prayers (Video)
Cleopatra Records has decided to breathe a little life into the power metal scene here on North American shores through subsidary Magick Records. The label has stepped up in a big way, bringing Paragon's new release to American store shelves as well as the new album from Germany's premier Teutonic warlords, Stormwarrior. With so much press attention put on the death-core and hot topic bands it is really astonishing to see a label like Magick putting some faith in the power metal legions. Now "Northern Rage" is easily accessible to the public, making Stormwarrior's second album to date their biggest commercial effort. Odd it might seem, but at this point anything is possible. Let's hope that this is a venture that works out well, allowing more power metal bands to achieve global success.
This album is themed around one particular concept, that of Odinn (Odin) and the many chapters surrounding his life and afterlife. Songs range from traditional telling of the God's legacy to the many soldiers who have fought and died to keep the religious faith. The album doesn't necessarily flow in any chronological order, it is simply songs of Odinn with may different time frames and settings. Backing this solid songwriting is a musical group who are very passionate about the classic speed metal sound. Guitarists Thunder Axe and Lightning Blade are just madmen on the strings, blazing through track after track of blinding metal. Black Sworde plays the part of the bumblebee, keeping a steady, rigid bass line behind this battery. Drummer Doomrider plays a heavy hitter here, really thumping behind the kit with some quick hands and feet, both of which never struggle to keep up with this lightning pace. Thunder Axe also steps in on vocals, recalling the fine moments of Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen. His voice is just a bit squeaky, which reminds me of Hansen's singing style. Kai Hansen actually plays a bigger role than just vocal inspiration. The legendary German also steps into producer role, helping out with producing, recording, mixing, and mastering. He also steps in to do guest vocals on "Heroic Death" and lays down a guitar solo on "Welcome Thy Rite".
Fans of Heaven's Gate, Not Fragile, Gamma Ray, and early Helloween will find plenty to like about this particular warrior. Riding on the same hot winds as brothers-in-arms Running Wild, Stormwarrior put to use a tight, effective delivery built on speed and power. Really those are the two main ingredients...speed and power. The band never get too fancy, relying on quick riffs, speedy melody, and simple songwriting instead of the more modern elements found in today's power genre. You won't find "chapel" chorus parts here, keyboards, or astonishing production magic. Instead this is really back to the basics, back to a time when metal ruled the world through intense energy and firepower. Stormwarrior really go back to the roots of early 80s speed metal, freewheel burning at a sonic velocity with a determination to rule the frozen tundra.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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