Very raw and gritty power Metal from Germany displaying excellent songs and display an overwhelming performance of metal.
Great epic metal for fans of Doomsword, Wotan, Manilla Road, Brocas Helm, (old) Omen, etc.
Printed booklet + artwork, CDR disc surface.
1. Die or Prevail 04:51
2. Break the Chains 04:40
3. Castle Walls 05:59
4. Eagles’ Eyes 04:19
5. Let Metal Reign 04:37
6. Sails on Fire 06:19
7. Shipwrecked 04:24
8. Never Surrender 06:52
9. Stormrider 04:56
10. Peace at Last 04:39
True metal fans, take note – 88%
Stormrider are yet another German true/power act that manages to succeed in completely avoiding the stereotypical upbeat Euro power sound. True, their own chosen sound isn’t so unique itself, but for speedy, dark power metal with a healthy dose of traditional influences thrown in one could certainly do much worse.
Right out of the gate, a band I keep recalling while listening to Shipwrecked is Twisted Tower Dire, albeit with a different vocal approach. As opposed to Tony Taylors smooth yet slightly-soaring work in TTD, here singer Rouven Tahlhammer opts for a much lower, commanding style. For some reason I cant quite offer a close comparison (I’ve got about three on the tip of my tongue), but perhaps imagine Chris Boltendahl with much more technical prowess. Tahlhammer likewise shares some similarities with guys like Urban Breed not so much in the sound-alike category, but in possessing the ability to use great vocal harmonies (and lots of em, too) in accenting a bands sound. I especially like the work in songs like Never Surrender, the terrific chorus part in which he turns a simple whoa into a ten second vocal exercise. Great stuff.
Beyond Tahlhammer, the rest isn’t quite as noteworthy, but that’s not to say everything else sucks. Indeed, the duel guitars are handled very capably, even if a lot of the songs are structured around palm-muted power chord riffing. Hey, no one ever said this style of true metal had to be complex. Nonetheless, guitarists Eraslen and Czop aren’t afraid to slide into an emulation of the trademark Maiden-esque duelling guitars, replete with enjoyable solos and plenty of nice leads. The bass is actually audible and does its job, but not much else. Which, I suppose, is all one can really for ask for on such an album. As for the drums, they’re much the same. Wovke holds his own and competently does what hes supposed to. There is a fair amount of power metal-styled double bass on display here, but its never overbearing and usually reserved for the proper times.
The disc does seem to get stronger as it goes on, with tracks seven through nine being my favorite three, all conveniently placed together. Never Surrender is especially rocking, with a solid mid-paced gallop for the first half before ripping into a solo-laced speedy second half build-up (the last thirty second payoff is great). Some of the middle songs start to fall victim to the curse of sounding too much alike, but everything’s reinvigorated when the title track rolls around. The album does end with a ballad, one in which Tahlhammer displays some very good slow singing the man is definitely talented within his limited range. The production is fine. Fans of all sorts of true metal, anything even closely related to the aforementioned TTD sound, should enjoy this, as should fans of darker forms of power metal. Heck, even the question just about everyone will ask does it sound like old Iced Earth? can be answered with at least a yes, a little bit at times answer. Strangely enough, Underground Symphony released this little gem. Anyone familiar with that name knows about their penchant for often third-rate cheesy Euro power, the exact kind of sound I noted Stormrider have avoided. In doing so they produced a first-rate amalgam of the true, traditional, and power sounds. Excellent work and highly recommended despite a couple slower spots in the middle.