Released: 2014, Black Plague Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
The Second World War has always been a source of inspiration for many black metal acts. Nowadays, lyrics and imagery based on this conflict have even become a trend within that scene, like Satanism and occultism. But what about the first one? It is obvious that World War I didn’t have the same impact as its successor and I can’t even remember of any extreme metal bands referring to it in their lyrics, apart from... Sturmtiger!
Formed in Denmark in 2003, this belligerent trio moved later to London. The three members are coming from different European countries (Denmark, Russia, Poland) and are also part of Necrosadistic Goat Torture (excellent blackened thrash/death metal act signed at cult French label Drakkar Productions). Being a big fan of Necrosadistic, I simply couldn’t ignore Sturmtiger’s debut album. They did several demos and EPs before signing with Black Plague Records in 2014. Then, this Californian label finally released their first destructive assault “World at War 1914-1918” (limited to 500 copies) which is a concept album about the First World War. Musically and lyrically speaking, the songs have nothing to do with what the musicians used to play in their respective bands. Here, they perform pure War black metal in the vein of Blasphemy and in the old-school way.
PB’s sepulchral vocals remind a bit the ones of Nocturnal Grave Desecrator and Black Winds (from Blasphemy). It is also the case for VJ’s nice guitar solos that are clearly influenced by the cult classics “Fallen Angel of Doom....” and “Gods of War”. Despite some strong similarities with the Canadian’s barbarian art, those three commanders had the great idea to add a kind of World War I ambiance to their compositions. No keyboards here but instead of that, they’ve offered us a very good intro in which we can hear the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, one military speech in English and some well-inserted war sounds (bombardment, tanks, machine guns, etc). Concerning the music itself, they’ve succeeded in forging catchy songs thanks to some great ass-kicking riffs, devastative drumming and a solid production.
By the way, there are two excellent bonus tracks (“Knivdrab” and “Mordet i Hammer Bakker”), taken from their first eponymous EP released in 2007 (previously limited to 250 copies) that are worth to highlight. Indeed, those early songs sound more black metal compared to their recent works due to some shrilling screams and a raw production. To conclude, “World at War 1914-1918” is a brilliant opus I strongly recommend to any fans of old-school extreme metal. Get quickly a copy before it sells out. Killer assault!
Review by Oliver Manso.