Stormgarde - The answer 3.5/5
1. The answer
2. Sphere of dreams
3. Like a prison
4. The nightstorm
5. The voice
7. Tornado of the charred souls
8. Left alone
9. Sitting here
10. Everything (I did was wrong)
Stormgarde is a fresh new band from Germany and 'The answer' is their full-length debut. I've actually been watching for this debut to be released for months, as I'm familiar with their vocalist Sabrina Grochocki, who is the "guest" vocalist on the outstanding 7 Seals debut 'Moribund', which I reviewed last year. She sounds great on that CD and she sounds just as good on 'The answer', though she has a high voice and while I personally dig her, those who aren't big lovers of female fronted metal might not.
Stormgarde is definitely a gothic metal band, but they have a slight symphonic side and a power metal side as well. In fact, there's a good amount of speed present, and the entire CD is of the upbeat and/or bouncy kind. So it's very far away from being a boring and plodding CD, and if you like your gothic metal exciting, you'll be pleased. For comparisons, Stormgarde sits in the middle of the distance that separates bands like Crimson Tears and bands like Liquid Sky, or perhaps think of Elis as a general comparison. They have their own unique sound though, due mostly to Sabrina's high yet great vocals, and I can easily say they already have their own identity.
One of the band's strongest aspects is surely their guitar work, as the 2 guitarists, Markus Biehl and Daniel Stockner (who also provides some occasional rough vocals - known as the "beast"), provide plenty of catchy riffs and surprisingly, there's a high amount of guitar solos present, which is something that's usually missing on gothic metal CDs. In addition, the CD is quite heavy and I definitely consider it to be a powerful CD, so don't think this is light gothic rock/metal with commercial asperations.
While I can't pick any personal favorites (highlights) off of 'The answer', it's because all of the songs are at a consistent level, and thankfully it's a fairly high level. I think the band is going to get even better too, as all of the ingredients are already in place and it's just a matter of even crisper songwriting at this point. So we've got a very promising band, and a strong debut that's certainly recommended to fans of female fronted gothic metal.
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