Released: 2004, Remedy Records/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Though this is Stormwarrior’s second album the band is new to me. Stormwarrior consists of Lars Ramcke, David Wiczorek, Jussi Zimmermann and Falko Reshöft. The band hails form Germany and released their self-titled debut in 2002. The debut album received good reviews and was in fact produced by the legendary Kai Hansen. Hansen is back to co-produce and mix the sophomore release, NORTHERN RAGE. The production sounds really great. I haven’t heard anything that Hansen produced before this but his production skills sure impress me.
Most of the lyrics and music on NORTHERN RAGE were written by Ramcke, with some help from Reshöft on four of the tracks. The band seem to be heavily inspired by Vikings and Scandinavian mythology, a mere glance at the album cover and the song titles confirms that.
Stormwarrior play typically fast German power metal with some melodic hints. They totally rely on vocals, guitar, bass and drums without keyboards. There are some musical similarities with power metal legends like Helloween (especially the older records) and Running Wild. In other words, Stormwarrior doesn’t add anything new to this musical genre. On the other hand, it sounds like they really enjoy playing and that compensates the for lack of originality. Zimmermann and Reshöft make up the rhythm section and they keep a steady pace throughout the album. Wiczorek riffs really well and he burns some really hot guitar solos. Ramcke’s voice fits perfectly to this kind of music.
I must say that I have to surrender to this album. I have played it a number of times and it only gets better with each spin. My favorite songs are “Valhalla”, “Welcome Thy Rite”, “Odin’s Warrior” and “Blood Eagle”. The first edition release of NORTHERN RAGE will feature a bonus CD with unreleased songs and videos. As a salute to a fallen hero, Stormwarrior dedicated NORTHERN RAGE to Quorthon, the mastermind of Bathory, who died on the earlier this year in Stockholm, Sweden.