Stormcrow - No fear of tomorrow 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-12-06


1. Million miles
2. Last train of hope
3. The grievous story of Mary Grace
4. Down to the river
5. Dr. X in Wonderland
6. Follow the sign
7. Borderline
8. No fear of tomorrow
9. Chasing a shadow
10. The final battle

Sweden's Stormcrow are a surprisingly superlative new young talent bringing to the banquet a blend of metal and their northern European heritage. With similarities to the wolf and raven style of Sonata Arctica and other bands of this nature, Stormcrow have no fear of tomorrow and follow the sign by never yielding to tremulous trends. The more I involved myself and soul in this CD, the more meticulous I endeavored to make this review sound and solvent. Listening to this CD is like a rollercoaster ride through the 80s. Stormcrow serve us with an argosy of individual indictments, million miles removed from what the latest influx of power metal bands from Sweden solicit and pander. Stormcrow is on the borderline of crossing the boundaries of labelling and the deliniation for metal music. With first glance at the CD artwork by Daniel Ankarsten based upon an original concept by the band themselves; the adorning lithe logo by Alfred Lindahl; and with an appelative like Stormcrow, I expected them to be in the vain of fantasy metal bands like Dragonland. This is not the case as each song has its own theme and pitch. The opener "Million miles" has a furious futurity aspect to it with melodies similar Mob Rules, Dionysus or even Nocturnal Rites. Then the pace changes drastically with "Last train of hope" which has a more 80s MTV friendly vibe and the mechanical resonance of Tesla.

The production and mastering by Magnus Jonsson and Stormcrow, recorded at WET paint studio is up to standard and the music quite mellifluent. Vocalist Anders Hjartstrom is quite talented with a similar style to Freddy Persson from Nostradameus or Daniel Heiman. The guitar work of Ulf Helander & Anders "Lukas" Jonsson is quite impressive. Each song is saturated with savage soloing. The keyboards played by guest "Crow" Tom Rask really reminds me of Jari Pailamo from Twilight Guardians. In my opinion, Stormcrow surpasses Twilight Guardians leaving them in the wasteland, which is such a shame since the once flawless Guardians have devolved into rustic Stratovarius clones after initially being one of the promising Scandinavian sintrade contenders.

With a running time of almost 52 minutes, metalheads are treated to a smorgasbord of Swedish delights. "The grievous story of Mary Grace" has a very familiar melody forcasting the frightening tale of this femme fatale, with haunting King Diamond esquisite shrills. Then there is the bluesy track "Down to the river", a homage to Whitesnake with lyrics like "In the still of the night" and "when I cry in the rain". This is one of my personal favorites since it really demonstrates the protean potential for these lads with hints of D.A.D. and even early Cinderella all the while maintaining its metal flavor and fervor. "Dr. X in wonderland" with no allusion to Queensryche, lest Nicky be chasing the dragon, is an upbeat transcendental trip the light fantasmic formality. The title track is a slow burner again recalling the influence of artists like Europe, Destiny, TNT, and Vengeance. Stormcrow is again chasing the shadow preparing for the final battle by including their intrepid instrumental, a sycophantic commonality in metal these days. Overall the last train of hope is ready for boarding as each track is really railing and reeling. There is a paranthetical acoustic love B$ ballad borrowed from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "Under the bridge" retinue ensconced at the end of the CD, which is totally superfluous, so Anders, next time placate our personage and salvage this drivel and tripe for your solo release.




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