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Stormwarrior - Thunder & Steele

Thunder & Steele
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 02 February 2014, 8:42 PM

My iron prayers are answered! The Metallions of the Northe - STORMWARRIOR – redound and rebound, ready to do battle as true defenders of Metal. All hail the return of these Heathen warriors – the glorious heirs to the rights of passage – the true servants of metal and enforcers of steel vengeance. Feel the “Thunder & Steele”.

The fifth elemental release from Óðinn's Warriors is quite an achievement. The first five songs are fast and furious powerhouses of scorching speed and fyre, and I swear they leave their indelible mark like a rune inscribed for the iron gods of Valhalla. Each searing cut is emblazoned with an overwhelming intensity of riffs and more abundant soloing. These prolific, plethoric, and terrific guitar dynamics shred with magnificence and might. One will find torrential original recipes of frenetic energy, seldom exhibited by the highly hopeful and anticipated “next best thing” constantly being shoved down our throats, causing us to choke on the bile. It is like what DRAGONFORCE once accomplished, minus all the OTT fretboard fecundity of overzealous insanity. Each exuberant lead is focused, harmonized, and ultimately uplifting.

Straight out of the gate, storming the shores of sin, the axe wielders welcome their new drummer Jörg Uken – an iron borne Metal avenger. The title track and those which follow all verify that these servants of mettle are back to their roots. As much as I enjoy listening to “Heathen Warrior”, the songs of their previous effort were more epic and melodic; however, here Lars and Alex strive to recapture the northern rage and reclaim that Heavy Metal fyre which burned in their hearts when they stormed the foreign shores of Japan. The thriving spirit of the debut, the upturned cross-purposes of “Northen Rage”, and the integrity of “Heading Northe” are all ever-present and punishing.

With the clash of swords and dueling of axes, in union we stand for what STORMWARRIOR hold true when they defend the sacred oath. Ironclad in leather and spikes, fists held high, thrusting with force, enraged, the scythe seekers have sworn their fealty and vouchsafed allegiance in praise of the Metal age; ever ready to divide and conquer and make the poseurs die! They are the last of a dying breed, indeed! HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, IRON SAVIOR, IRON FIRE, WIZARD, PARAGON, and REBELLION all once maintained this alacrity, verve, and passion; but all have also put out material which often fails to excite or enlighten.

As I enjoin in the throes of aggression and adrenaline, I enthrall myself in the iron wrath of these Metal invaders. Such steely slices as “Sacred Blade” bite, and make you bleed. You can almost feel the chill of a winter storm when you embrace the nobility of “Ironborn”. The magnanimous might of “Metal Avenger” warrants multiple rotations. With pride I accept the Pagan festive frivolity of “Die By The Hammer”. Jamming these songs into my anxious skull allows me to feel as if I am ensconced vicariously in the glories of battle; a passion often evoked when I watch “Vikings” on The History Channel”, “Game Of Thrones” on HBO, or even “Spartacus” on Starz.

 “One Will Survive” recalls the terrible certainty KREATOR caused with the caustic “One Of Us”. The catchy pace of the pounding metal anvil that is “Steelcrusader” reminds me of PEGAZUS meets early SACRED STEEL. The final cut “Servants Of Metal” sums it up and says it all! As fast as every track is, the album loses its momentum with “Fyre In The Nighte” - one of the few tracks to re-use the superfluous “e” and “y” to deliberately misspell a word for that kitsch, trademark and identifiable effect.

The only odd one out on this album is quite possibly the worst SW ever! “Child Of Fyre” is god-awful! This just does not fit, and its tedious nature simply sickens the scheme, I mean WTF! I usually celebrate the lyrics Lars sings, and find myself joining in with the catchy phrases, and rhyme schemes in honor of MANOWAR and the Aesir Gods on high; but the music and words to this song are trite and fail to follow the sign. They spite rather than invite. Before I heard this song, I thought the band were invulnerable to excoriation and criticism.

Ever instilled in their mettle raven hearts and signified by their wolven might, these sons of Steel have elected to cover “The Enforcer” by WARRANT from Germany, just as they have honored PRETTY MAIDS, OZ, RUNNING WILD, etc. on other releases. Unfortunately, I have not been able to hear this yet, as I think it may only exist on the vinyl pressing. Curse the deceiver who led me to believe I could purchase this through iTunes.

I really wrangled with this review. I wanted to give it a 7 subtracting points for the bastard of war that is “Child Of Fyre”; however, given how everything begins, and realizing that Odens Krigare seldom disappoint. I have decided that an 8 is most befitting. Writers today have lost sight of assigning a number or grade to their reviews and everything seems to score the highest marks. When you depute a band the ultimate rating, it suggests perfection, and does not allow them to further progress. It would truly behoove me to give every SW album a 9 or 10, but then the band themselves would feel that they could not create anything better than before. “Thunder & Steele” is living proof that the metal legacy endures, and these Teutonic titans have plenty of fyre still burning in their embittered, heroic hearts. Welcome thy rights!

4 Star Rating

1. Thunder & Steele
2. Metal Avenger
3. Sacred Blade
4. Ironborn
5. Steelcrusader
6. Fyre In The Nighte
7. Die By The Hammer
8. Child Of Fyre
9. One Will Survive
10. Servants Of Metal
Lars Ramcke – Vocals, Guitars
Alex Guth – Guitars
Yenz Leonhardt – Bass
Jörg Uken – Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records


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