Stormwarrior - Northern rage 3/5

Reviewed: 10-22-04





Tracklist:

1. And the northewinde bloweth
2. Heroic death
3. Valhalla
4. Thy laste fyre
5. Welcome thy rite
6. Odinn's warriors
7. Bloode eagle
8. Sigrblot
9. To foreign shores
10. Lindisfarne


The 2nd CD from this German band continues its onslaught in the rawest spectrum of what could still be termed power metal, again, most reminiscent in style to the most brutal (knowing that term is used in a relative sense) offerings of early Helloween, and if that similarity were not clear enough, reminding us with Kai Hansen again doing guest vocals on one song, a guest solo on another, co-producing, mixing and mastering this CD. It's a rare offshoot of the European power metal phenomenon, with only Vhaldemar immediately coming to mind as doing a similar thing. For all the strains of Wagnerian metal and glorious speed, this is not a bouncy, happy style, but fits well with lyrics about blood eagles and blood sacrifice. For those that cherish that earliest of Helloween, wrapped in a shroud of proud and bloody viking tradition and consistent lyrical theme, this is a welcome offering, and well done and strong.

Singer, eh, "Thunder Axe" if anything has a more polished sound to his vocals, with surer control of the melodies, without losing the aggressiveness of this band's sound. The vocal melodies are not, however, the catchiest you will hear out there. The guitar melodies wrapped into that frantic, aggressive shell is wonderful. The band seems to have found an obsession with adding extra "e's" to everything, in some attempt to mimic a Old English style, that, if irrelevant to overall enjoyment of the music, is odd and distracting when reading the title list or the lyric sheet. "Feete", "Grounde", "Deathe", "Shalle", it seemse to bee indiscriminatee. The CD (again, the comparisons are too prevalent to ignore, but much like the first 1.5 Helloween CDs) is at a consistently fast and upper mid-pace, which some may find blessed, and others as losing the benefit of a more diverse CD structure. Note that there is a digipack version of this with a bonus CD, which in addition to some computer goodies, features 3 bonus tracks, 2 of which are versions of the CD songs done in Swedish, and one of which is a cover of OZ's "Turn the cross upside down".



CRAIG




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