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Released: 2006, Independent
Brazil has been a hotbed for heavy metal for many years now, spawning the likes of Sepultura, Krisiun, Rabaelliun, and Sarcofago. Now, on the traditional / power metal side of the spectrum, the oddly named Stormental is trying to make its presence felt on the international scene. Lead by the Leao brothers, Alexei (vocals) and Andrei (bass), Stormental’s self-titled debut is a slice of ‘80s influenced metal.
From the beginning strains of “The Conquer” (huh?), it’s clear that Stormental is heavily influenced by Iron Maiden. I know, I was shocked too. From the galloping bass lines to the prog-inflected song structures, it’s clear that these guys have studied their Eddie catalogue. There’s nothing overtly wrong with this of course, but as the disc progresses through its eight full songs (the band thankfully forgoes a pointless intro), I can’t help noticing my attention wandering. So what’s wrong? For one thing, the production is woefully powerless. It’s quite clear, which is a good thing, but there is just no bite to the guitars and no power to the bass and drums. Similarly, Alexei’s vocals have no emotion or strength to them. He’s a technically adept singer, but he lacks the dramatic flair and authority that this style of metal demands.
Musically, the band is definitely proficient enough, and their songwriting is certainly above average. For proof of this, look no further than “Rising”, the album’s stand out song. Pardon the pun, but the whole band rises to the occasion on this one, delivering a tasty metal treat that’s both catchy and heavy.
Like I said, there’s nothing technically wrong with STORMENTAL, but there’s nothing that makes it rise above the rest either. Still, this is a good starting point for the band, and I hope they’re able to make the most of it in the coming years. As a bonus for fans, this album is available for download (free!) on the band’s website. Check it out.
1) The Conquer
4) Sun Child
5) The Fury
6) First Ray of Light
8) Introducing the End
Alexei Leao: Vocals
Andrei Leao: Bass
Rafael Scopel: Guitar
Marcos Feminella: Drums
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