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Stormwarrior - Heading Northe (CD)

Stormwarrior
Heading Northe
by Grigoris Chronis at 22 February 2008, 10:35 AM

Ten years of STORMWARRIOR, right? I can recall late 1998/early 1999, when the Metal Victory demo grabbed my attention, boasting - among their own metallic German cuts - a killer take on RUNNING WILD's Under Jolly Roger opus. Hell yeah, I could imagine these combatants climbing up the Metal scale in the years to come and - eventually - their latest effort, Heading Northe bursts out from the Dockyard 1 label. Not bad at all!
Retro: you think (nowadays) HELOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, EDGUY and HAMMERFALL should hold the European Metal sceptres? STORMWARRIOR in this album show - again - an undoubted tendency in playing honest Northern European Metal influenced by early HELLOWEEN (Heading Northe, Remember The Oathe) and (everlasting) RUNNING WILD (Iron Gods, Lion Of The Northe), (early) BLIND GUARDIAN (at times), GAMMA RAY/PRIMAL FEAR (Metal Legacy or Ragnarok), with some of the MANOWAR Europe-transcribed spirit (The Revenge Of Asa Lande, Into The Battle) and 'epic' BATHORY ambiance (The Revenge Of Asa Lande, again). Achtung: the above artist/cut reference is identical, since the whole Heading Northe album - apart from boasting the usual STORMWARRIOR Nordic Mythology spirit - does apply as a whole to the metal lunatics that like their Metal meal served in full speed, with semi-retro production - handled by Piet Sielck (IRON SAVIOR, SAVAGE CIRCUS) and Tommy Newton (HELLOWEEN, HAMMERFALL, PRETTY MAIDS) this time - and various pounding performed by a sold rhythm section team (you know latest member Jens Yenz Leonhardt, from his deeds with IRON SAVIOR and SAVAGE CIRCUS).
The critical factor in Heading Northe could be summed up in  The Holy Cross alone. A more-than-seven-minutes opus, with metallic storm, epic vibe, folk stand and heavy atmosphere. To tell you the truth, the album is 'designed' to be of a more commercial dynamics. Hence, it was - maybe? - the first STORMWARRIOR album I did listen to, to find out the GAMMA RAY elements are in a higher scale now. But, but, but…do not estimate a change of season for STORMWARRIOR! This quartet - guided by the spikes-and-leather arm-wrists of founding member Lars Ramcke (aka Thunder Axe) does perform honest European Metal music. What if Ramcke's voice sounds similar to Kai? The man never did hide his homage to the one and only German guitarist, while this transaction - apart from Kai producing STORMWARRIOR albums and HELLOWEEN members guesting at selected songs - was taken to greater level during 2004 in the so-called '34'000 Ton Metal Cruise' in Stockholm, where STORMWARRIOR performed a Walls Of Jericho tribute set with Kai Hansen onstage (an event to be repeated later that year in Hamburg's Headbangers Ballroom).
If you listen to STORMWARRIOR's take on Warchild in a RUNNING WILD tribute album released in 2004 by Remedy Records (The Revivalry - A Tribute To Running Wild)  you can get the picture of this frank Metal band as a whole. European Speed Metal, with Nordic references; simple as this, it is. I see - after only a few spins - Heading Northe being the band's most successful album. The instrumentation is more professional and the leads are diving back to the 'classic' Metal well of inspiration, while the spirit is still here; alive and kicking. You've been warned. This is European Heavy Metal served at your disposal. Take it or leave it?
P.S.: What a beautiful 'traveling' cover artwork…

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
And The Horde Calleth For Oden
Heading Northe
Metal Legacy
The Holy Cross
Iron Gods
Ragnarok
The Revenge Of Asa Lande
Remember The Oathe
Lion Of The Northe
Into The Battle
And The Valkyries Ride
Lineup:
Thunder Axe (Lars Ramcke) - Vocals & Guitar
Firebolt (Alex Guth) - Guitar
Jens Yenz Leonhardt - Bass
Doomrider (Falko Reshoft) - Drums
Record Label: Dockyard 1
     


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