The band’s debut album three of years ago had actually crushed my head in full speed at high level: “Caught In The Act”
was as ‘British’ and classic hardrockin’ as it could get – or someone would expect in the 00s decade – and I was really looking forward to see if STORMZONE
would stabilize their career with a solid lineup and normal songwriting for a further series of albums. Now, “Death Dealer”
comes as the sophomore release for the Irish band and SPV
is the new shelter for STORMZONE
in order for the quintet to unleash their newest sonic attack.
What I bowed to in the band’s 2007 debut release was: a) the stunning vintage melodies owing a lot to classic WHITESNAKE
and also NWOBHM’s melodic side, b) ‘Harv’ Harbinson
’s majestic “good ol’ wine” voice, lifting up the listener’s appetite for good British Rock, c) the leads focusing on the time Britain ruled the Metal world years ago. STORMZONE
’s debut really seems to have had an impact since the band showed up for enough live appearances plus the anxiety of many fans for a second album was obvious in Net portals and forums. Well, good news is that “Death Dealer” has finally arrived. So, is there some kind of bad news around, too?
No, no bad news. Just…weird (initially) and fine (finally) news. If most of the band’s fan base would expect a follow-up album in the same vein then this should not be expected no more, in most of the album’s songs at least. “Death Dealer”
is an album clocking to something more than 70 minutes and the main idea I get is that you’ll listen to a different approach by STORMZONE
in terms of music style. Here thing are more ‘Metal’ in a way, with more fast and galloping tracks dealin’ bringing myths, legends and epic tales to mind (the lyrics themes refer to personal emotions and beliefs, I have the impression). Long in duration, the tracks in this new album reminded me of the ‘heroic’ times of IRON MAIDEN
and CLOVEN HOOF
, the more ‘warrior’ side of NWOBHM or some late THIN LIZZY
and though the band did not chose to focus on complex themes to justify most of the tracks durations the final result is surely comfortable and you’ll(probably) not feel tired after 1:11:57 is over (some themes seem repetitive here and there throughout the tracklist but this does not seem to be embarrassing if you’re an old-school Hard/Heavy music lover). Harv
’s wonderful voice helps in this direction too, to say the least, since he’s preserved the vintage melodies in his harmony lines while at times – an on a song’s demand – he’s more ‘operatic’ or ‘epic’.
The production (handled by the band and the one and only NealKay
) is as simple and classic as in “Court In The Act”
and the guitar melodies draw near the debut’s level of inspiration, while the riffs are – reasonable enough – more attacking and in-your-face. The rhythm section is simple yet ample in performance, bearing mind the pre-said statement for the non-complexity of the CD’s songlist. To tell the truth, the first time I listened to the album I felt kinda surprised by STORMZONE
’s decision to focus on more heavy and less hard recipes. Gradually this uncomfortable feeling vanished and after a series of auditions the verdict can be none other than…
…a very good (again) sophisticated album by STORMZONE
. One more time featuring a magnificent cover artwork by legendary painter Rodney Matthews (MAGNUM
, THIN LIZZY
, PRAYING MANTIS
, DIAMOND HEAD
) the band’s sound has hardened a bit but this is not bad news (see?) at all since the inspiration and melodies & hooks are all here, only under a different more lyrical aspect. “Death Dealer”
is for all fans in love with traditional British Metal/Hard Rock aficionados have nothing to fear of, the rest can just pre-listen to some samples to avoid any kind of specific expectations failure.