4/23/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Stormwarrior - Northern Rage - 2005 - Magick Records
This album is themed around one particular concept, that of Odinn (Odin) and the many chapters surrounding his life and afterlife. Songs range from traditional telling of the God's legacy to the many soldiers who have fought and died to keep the religious faith. The album doesn't necessarily flow in any chronological order, it is simply songs of Odinn with may different time frames and settings. Backing this solid songwriting is a musical group who are very passionate about the classic speed metal sound. Guitarists Thunder Axe and Lightning Blade are just madmen on the strings, blazing through track after track of blinding metal. Black Sworde plays the part of the bumblebee, keeping a steady, rigid bass line behind this battery. Drummer Doomrider plays a heavy hitter here, really thumping behind the kit with some quick hands and feet, both of which never struggle to keep up with this lightning pace. Thunder Axe also steps in on vocals, recalling the fine moments of Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen. His voice is just a bit squeaky, which reminds me of Hansen's singing style. Kai Hansen actually plays a bigger role than just vocal inspiration. The legendary German also steps into producer role, helping out with producing, recording, mixing, and mastering. He also steps in to do guest vocals on "Heroic Death" and lays down a guitar solo on "Welcome Thy Rite".
Fans of Heaven's Gate, Not Fragile, Gamma Ray, and early Helloween will find plenty to like about this particular warrior. Riding on the same hot winds as brothers-in-arms Running Wild, Stormwarrior put to use a tight, effective delivery built on speed and power. Really those are the two main ingredients...speed and power. The band never get too fancy, relying on quick riffs, speedy melody, and simple songwriting instead of the more modern elements found in today's power genre. You won't find "chapel" chorus parts here, keyboards, or astonishing production magic. Instead this is really back to the basics, back to a time when metal ruled the world through intense energy and firepower. Stormwarrior really go back to the roots of early 80s speed metal, freewheel burning at a sonic velocity with a determination to rule the frozen tundra.
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