Released: 2013, Metal Nation Records
Back in May of 2012 I reviewed Stormzone’s last album, FROM ZERO TO RAGE and I gave it a decent review but expressed the fact that I would like to hear a bit more energy. Naturally I am very delighted that the new album THREE KINGS has increased the speed, power and energy. I’d like to think that the improvement (to my ears) was based exclusively on my suggestion, but deep down, I know that is unlikely! However, we (all Metal fans) can all benefit from the newfound power of Stormzone and enjoy their fourth album.
Not too much has changed for the quintet, other than they have jumped over to Metal Nation Records, a new UK based label that specializes in the NWOBHM. It is a perfect fit. THREE KINGS starts with an excerpt from Winston Churchill’s famous ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’ speech, perhaps more familiar to most Metal fans for a different segment used as the opening section of the song, Aces High’ by Iron Maiden, the opening track from POWERSLAVE. The speech is joined by an air-raid siren, some simple guitar lines and a military style tattoo drum beat on the snare, setting an ominous tone for the opening cut. ‘The Pain Inside’.
THREE KINGS is a long album; thirteen songs that runs over an hour and the album cover is very nice as well, as is the warm, full production. The individual performances of the band are also excellent as we get to hear a bit more speed and guitar fire. John Harbinson has good range and power and in my mind I hear a bit of Blaze Bayley, not so much in tone but in his phrasing and delivery but I think I’m just imagining it. The band balances a fine line between classic NWOBHM style and Power Metal. There are some more subdued performances, such as the excellent guitar work on the beginning of the cut 'Never Trust' before the song takes off into faster territory and heads for the horizon bolstered by some great backing vocals.
As I mentioned previously, the whole album is a bit faster and heavier and with more grit and punch without retaining that classic sound from the United Kingdom. ‘Wallbreaker’ is a great, fast song and B.Y.H. while not a Hammerfall cover is a fine anthem to the power and glory of Metal. Overall the whole album has delivered a higher level of intensity that will draw even more fans into the stormzone.