Released: 2008, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The cherishers of true heavy/power metal, Stormrider, coming from the Teutonic soil of hardened steel, have returned among us with their 2nd album, titled FACE OF THE HUNTER. Stormrider released their debut album, SHIPWRECKED, through Underground Symphony in 2005, which brought a good load of positive attention to their camp.
FACE OF THE HUNTER, with its 10 songs, stays loyal to the band´s concept of true heavy/power metal - meaning that one doesn´t have to be afraid of expecting any cheesy and über-fast, keyboard-infested modern Euro-power metal that so many bands seem to do nowadays. The Stormrider camp count more securely on the NWOBHM and old school US (power) metal more than anything else - and they do their thing well, no doubt.
The first thing that a listener will obviously pay some attention to when spinning through the band´s latest output, are Stefan Hebes´ vocals that strongly remind of Matt Barlow´s voice. Similarities are definitely there even if Stefan never vocally goes to that upper register, which Matt seems to do quite a lot in Iced Earth. However, Stefan´s skills as a singer cannot be questioned. He´s really good and it´s pleasing to hear him singing the way he does.
As far as the songs on FACE… goes, undoubtedly the biggest influence for Stormrider has been Maiden. Lots of Maiden´s signature guitar lines can be traced in their songs, and one cannot need to go far on this record in order to hear Maiden´s presence in the songs. Add tiny parts from some US heavy metal into this same soup, and you pretty much get a picture of how Stormrider sound like. There´s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary happening inside their stuff, but I believe FACE OF THE HUNTER is still a worthy listen for many metal fans. I enjoyed the record quite a bit at least - and am sure many of you will do so as well.