Reviewed: December 1, 2022
Released: October 14, 2022, Napalm Records
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
So it seems as of late that a lot of the good black metal coming out is from the States. One of my most recent discoveries was STORMRULER from St. Louis. This is melodic black metal done in the Swedish style like old DISSECTION but with their own identity. There are not many bands here in the states that play melodic black metal this good. Their second full length, Sacred Rites & Black Magick, just dropped and with each repeated listen this is becoming one of my favorite albums of the year. I am not at all familiar with their debut so I am reviewing the album based on its own merits.
The track listing for this album reads almost like BLIND GUARDIAN’s Nightfall in Middle Earth. There are twenty tracks in all but ten of those are very short interludes. The total running time is close to an hour and fifteen minutes. I know some people are not fans of this type of album and track list but this album needs it. What I mean is the way the album is written, remove anything and it will take away from the incredible atmosphere this album creates. Each track’s goal is to be the stand out track to the point where you begin to realize that this album needs to be consumed whole. Songs like the proper opener, “Internal Fulmination of the Grand Deceivers,” shows exactly what you are in for with this album. The riffs are plentiful and drive the songs while also adding melody. Along with most of the serious riffing, acoustic guitars are present as another driver to the songs. The melodic section with the solo, you can hear everything so clear and those acoustic guitars hovering there gives you the chills.
As I said, an album of this length and with a track list like this is an acquired taste but I liken an album like this to a soundtrack. Each song, including the interludes, is an essential part of this soundtrack. The songs are more like compositions and the musicianship is outstanding. To pick outstanding tracks would do this album an injustice. “Entranced Within the Moon Presence” can be one of them. The riffs are driving the song but the acoustic guitars are also supporting it and adding another layer to the melodies. The production is outstanding, especially when it comes to how the acoustic guitars are in the mix. These song can stand on their own but once you hear them with the rest of the album you realize how important each one is. As we move through the album each song does stick to the formula but it is a winning formula. “Along the Appian Way” and the closer, “A Malice Dead and Cold” need to be mentioned due to their sheer epic nature with the closer showing off some of the most melodic solos on the album.
I actually saw a negative review of this album just prior to writing this one and it just seems the listener did not understand what this band was going for. They could have just sounded like a DISSECTION clone and left it at that. Instead they created a masterpiece that I can’t stop listening to. As we approach year’s end I am seeing this in the running for AOTY. You should too. You’re welcome!