Stormwarrior – Thunder & Steele

Stormwarrior_Thunder_and_Steele_CoverIt feels like 2014 has barely begun, but it’s already the best year for German power metal in ages. With releases from Iron Savior and Freedom Call already under our belt, and Gamma Ray, Edguy, Rage and Grave Digger scheduled to release albums later this year, there is nary a reason to complain. Amongst the vast array of German metal bands releasing new material, we can also find Stormwarrior. You know, the band you will regularly find playing Helloween‘s Walls of Jericho sets together with ex-pumpkin and Gamma Ray fronter Kai Hansen. Of course, besides providing a much appreciated journey down memory lane, the band also writes and releases its own material, and Thunder & Steele is the newest in a growing catalogue of top tier power metal for the band.

What Stormwarrior has done over the course of four albums (and a smashing live recording) is evoke the chaotic days of frantic German speed/power metal. The type of metal they tended to make back in the late eighties, when bands like Helloween and Blind Guardian were still just starting out and their material was far less refined and polished than these days. It’s fast, furious and more than a little hectic in places, but that’s the way it should be, and that is exactly what Thunder & Steele is.

From the very moment the title track blasts out of the speakers it’s fist-in-the-air old-school heavy metal time, and Stormwarrior manages to keep the pace going for three quarters of an hour. Lars Ramcke and his men deliver an album filled to the brim with double guitar work, and the barrage of double bass drumming never lets down, except for on the very Manowar-ish metal anthem Child of Fyre, where both the band and the listener are allowed a deserved change of pace. The rest of the album is, at its slowest, a break-neck affair, without ever getting the chance to grow boring.

The choruses on Thunder & Steele are catchy as hell, and the guitar work is excellent as always. Take Metal Avenger, for example, which has some suitably epic vocal lines, some very Steve Harris-y bass work and thrives on an absolutely brilliant main riff that manages to stay lodged in your brain for days. Classic stuff, right there. And what’s even more great, is that Thunder & Steele is full of those sort of moments. Little fragments of riffs, or various vocal lines will nest somewhere in your head, and on the very next day after having listened to the album for the first time, you will find yourself inadvertently humming melodies without realising where they come from. Which is actually rather irritating, but what the heck. Bottom line is this: if you’re a fan of some very traditional German speed/power metal, you would do yourself a severe disservice not buying this album. That being said, it will also be a very taxing year on your wallet.

Label: Massacre Records
Release: out now

Tracklist:

  1. Thunder & Steele (03:36)
  2. Metal Avenger (03:41)
  3. Sacred Blade (03:57)
  4. Ironborn (04:48)
  5. Steelcrusader (04:13)
  6. Fyres in the Nighte (03:41)
  7. Die by the Hammer (04:36)
  8. Child of Fyre (04:37)
  9. One Will Survive (06:19)
  10. Servants of Metal (04:55)

Line-up:

  • Lars Ramcke – vocals and guitar
  • Alex Guth – guitar
  • Yenz Leonhardt – bass
  • Hendrik Thiesbrummel – drums

Further surfing:

Review by Ralph Plug

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