1. Sander (Intro) 2. Blow the fuse 3. Viron 4. Bound To Die 5. Winds Of Valhalla 6. For Her Majesty 7. Ride On 8. Instrumetal 9. Lucifer Arise 10. Born Out Of Light 11. Doomsday
The last release I heard from Greece's Sonic Age Records was the fantastic debut from Canadian power group Penetrator. Now the label goes one better with Germany's Viron, a young band who have released their debut in the form of "NWOGHM", an acronym for what I would assume is "New Wave Of German Heavy Metal". The band was formed when singer Alex Stahl and drummer Neudi met while playing in a Deep Purple tribute band called Child In Time. The two had played previously with the group Seduction, and after seeing each other again they decided to pursue a musical project. After recruiting Thilo Feucht (guitarist) and Ingmar Holzhauer (bass), the act changed their name to Viron and soon recorded a four song demo. The small release gained the attention of Sonic Age Records, home to fabulous bands like Overlorde, Valkija, and Euroforce. The label signed the band and now we are treated to a full length sensation.
Viron are one incredible force both musically and vocally. It has been a rather dry year in my opinion for power metal thus far and this debut couldn't have come at a better time. "NWOGHM" is an amazing feat of strength, a traditional soundscape that soaks up much of the '80s metal movement while still entertaining today's production strengths. At times the band reminds me of older sounds like Savage Grace and Omen, and on other selections the group captures the essence of today's power metal scene by bringing to mind Iron Savior and Hibria. Vocalist Alex Stahl is a cross between Iron Savior's Piet Sielck and Force Of Evil/Iron Fire frontman Martin Steene. Stahl has amazing ability with his voice, delivering fast vocal melodies that soar into falsetto range.
This band makes a killing off of driving guitar rhythms and catchy hooks. On cuts like "Ride On" it sounds as if the band has made a junction stop at the Running Wild owned "Port Royal". The group move through some ultra-fast twin guitar melody and harmony, an obvious by-product of Feucht's fascination with early Metallica and Children Of Bodom. On songs like "Viron" and "For Her Majesty" the band breaks into thunderous groove passages, almost a bone rattling backdrop for a new Dio track. My favorite parts of the album are the mid to fast tempo tracks, highlights being the roaring "Bound To Die" and the quick dash "Blow The Fuse". The Germans also do some slower experimentation with the Blind Guardian inspired "Winds Of Valhalla". Also the release provides one scorching solo in the oddly titled "Instrumental".
Bottom Line - Possibly the best power metal release of the year and arguably the best album on the Sonic Age roster OTHER than Overlorde's gem "Return Of The Snow Giant".
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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