Released: 2011, Massacre Records
Poor ol’ StormWarrior! People don’t give them the credit they deserve for being a part of the resurgence of Metal in the late 90’s. That wave continues unabated now for almost 15 years running. StormWarrior have been around almost as long as HammerFall but it wasn’t until 2002 with the release of their self-titled debut, that they caught people’s attention on a global scale. They haven’t been all that productive with only four studio albums since forming in 1998 but they deserve recognition for being one of the earlier 2nd wave bands embracing the three ‘V’s’ (Vikings, Valhalla, & Valkyries).
The new album, HEATHEN WARRIOR is no exception as StormWarrior stay the course with true Nordic pride. All 12 cuts on this 52 minute album lyrically continue to explore their chosen realm of all things Norse and Nordic, Odin, wolves, ravens and steeds be praised! The only exception is a cover tune, namely ‘City Lights’, an excellent choice and it is the lead off cut from the debut, self-titled, Pretty Maids EP, released in 1983. These guys know their history! The band still continue to spelle everythinge with an extra ‘e’ on the end of words in their ye olde tyme English spelling. Something’s never change. Speaking of wolves and ravens and steeds, all these things grace the font cover art with Odin himself as he rides the sky.
Sonically the band is still obsessed with Kai-era Helloween circa 1983-1986. It’s not surprising as the bands last live album from earlier in the year had no less than 7 (!) early Helloween covers on it! Everything is in pristine condition on HEATHEN WARRIOR from the Kai-like vocal delivery of Thunder Axe to the immaculate 1983, Germanic guitar tone; just like the last three records. Progression is not a concern for these guys. The album surges along like a dragonship charging through the waves with a strong sense of tempo, but not every song is a blitzkrieg of speed but the whole album is pretty quick driven by new drummer, Hendrik. There is some really nice bass work on ‘The Returne’ as well as a really ripping solo all bolstered by a chorus that is supremely addictive.
The whole album is a fantastic blend of melodic speed and really fun choruses. Only on ‘The Valkyries Call’ do the band slow it down to a thumping pace but keeping the choir-like, big gang choruses and a deep voice-over as well. There is not too much to report with HEATHEN WARRIOR except that it is another great batch of really fun songs, done well, done right and done with Metal Viking pride.