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Stormwind – Reflections (Reissue)

Stormwind
Reflections (Reissue)
by Rachel Montgomery at 02 March 2021, 8:10 PM

STORMWIND is at it again with another re-release. Formed in 1996 and disbanded in 2003, this epic power metal band is giving their old albums a second chance. This one, their 2001 albums Reflections, delves into sword and sorcery with lots of thematic elements going back to antiquity – Egyptian pharaohs and the Trojan War reign at the beginning and end of this album. The time and place where Stormwind first tried their hand at breaking into the music business wasn’t known for more traditional power metal. Rather, it’s remembered as symphonic metal’s breakthrough. Stormwind has the thematic elements, but since they were missing the pomp and grandiosity of a full, epic orchestra, they were probably overlooked. Now with traditional metal sweeping the metal scene, it’s a good time to throw their albums back out there. Let’s see how they hold up.

War of Troy” is exactly what it says on the tin – an epic song about the epic war from The Illiad. This track and the intro introduce us to the highlight of this album for me: the ambient intros. The ambiance at the beginning of the songs is noteworthy. From wolves howling to bones shaking, the short intros give the album more of a mystical setting, specifically painting the tracks in the woods at night with deadly creatures all around. The sweeps in “Reflection’s” guitar solo are also noteworthy The fifth track takes it in a different direction, giving the song a sea setting with splashing fish and gulls. “Golden Tears” is the slow track on the album, and it carries the sea theme through the mandolin-esque guitars. The belting in the vocals in the second verse is well-executed.

Queen of Nine Days” picks up where “Golden Tears” left off with crashing waves in the beginning. Instead of a slow song, it gallops. The song speeds along, telling a ballad about a powerful queen. The following song has a darker, more traditionally 80s power metal feel to it. The intros are back after a fly buzzes at the beginning of “Assassin of Honour” following a frenzied drum solo. The vocalist’s upper register is great here. It’s clear and it soars about the fast melody. The melody varies in pace, with a faster, more harried verse and a slower, smoother chorus with some uplifting notes. The guitar solo is great structurally, but a little too electronic for my taste.

Ramses” was the original closing track and is their long ballad. They set it up with some desert ambiance and a marching guitar intro which reminds me of NIGHTWISH’s early track “Tutankhamen”. Then the chorus comes in. While I love this song, the vocals are too far back on the track, so they become buried by the instrumentals, especially in the verses. That said, the majesty of this song propels it to the heights it needs to go to in order to do the theme justice.

The closing two tracks weren’t on the original album. They include a minute-long interlude featuring medieval-style acoustic guitars and the album closes out with a very, very 80s sounding jam, which figures because “A Little Ain’t Enough” is a David Lee Roth cover. I’m guessing this was an attempt at a single because it doesn’t go with the rest of the album thematically and also, doesn’t really do anything new with the song. It’s not a punchy as Roth’s cover. However, there are parts where they play with the vocals like howling on the high notes and an echoing chorus.

I like this re-release better than the last re-release of theirs I reviewed. The production was much better and with the exception of one song, the vocals weren’t behind the instrumentals. Is it a hidden gem worthy of re-release? Its standout moments are definitely the ambiance, but frankly, I wish they went with a bolder sound. If you’re into the sword and sorcery style power ballads, this is a good album to check out.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Genesis
2. War Of Troy
3. The Man Behind The Iron Mask
4. Reflections
5. Illusion
6. Golden Tears
7. Queen Of Nine Days
8. Dynasty
9. Assassin Of Honour
10. Ramses
11. Venezia
12. A Little Ain’t Enough
Lineup:
Thomas Vikstrom – Vocals
Thomas Wolf – Guitars
Kaspar Dahlqvist – Keyboards
Andreas Olsson – Bass
David Wallin – Drums
Record Label: Black Lodge Records
     


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Edited 11 April 2021
 

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