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Night of the Stormrider is a good album from beginning to end, starting out slow and melodic, then going to a more thrash type style, then ending out with what I consider Iced Earth's second best song, not far behind my first, Dante's Inferno.
The first two songs start you out in the mood...you can tell it's going to be an epic album. The opera-like beginning in Angel's Holocaust sets a dark theme, and it's kept up throughout the entire album. The lyrics really set you up for what's to come, very dark and after the intro, very heavy. Then there's Night of the Stormrider. While not quite as heavy as the others, it's still important to the storyline, and the lyrics are the beginning of the story, so very important.
The first two, though heavy, are mild compared to The Path That I Choose. Following up two more melodic songs by a dark, fast song I feel was a very good choice. The Path That I Choose is a kick in the face when you listen to it first, and a very strong kick at that. Again, it continues the storyline of the Stormrider, talking about how all that he did was his choice. Nice, fast riff to go along with the dark theme.
Before the Vision, Mystical End, and Desert Rain create a more melodic tune in between the two very brutal songs on this CD, The Path That I Choose and Pure Evil. Greely pulls out some nice, high melodic vocals for these, especially in Mystical End. Mystical End even gives the story line from a different point of view, talking about the doomsday falling upon the land. Then Desert Rain begins to get more brutal, and the lyrics are especially well-written in this one.
Pure Evil. The song of when the Apocalypse finally comes. When I first heard this, I had to check outside to make sure if the Apocalypse actually WASN'T going on. I love this song, one of Iced Earth's most brutal, something that can almost compete with death metal lyrics. Epic and extremely dark, we have almost reached the end, though it's not quite here...
Reaching the End, and finally, we get to Travel in Stygian. One of my favorite songs of all time, excellent lyrics with excellent guitar, especially the solo. He doesn't regret a thing he did, and for that, we salute him. He tells his tragic tale so vividly, you feel as if you were there. Like the song Dante's Inferno for Burnt Offerings, this song caps the entire album off, ending it with a finality that is almost frightening to think about.
From the Storm to Hell, Night of the Stormrider keeps you listening and active, giving you an orgy for the ears. I definitely suggest you getting it. Whether or not you've listened to Iced Earth before, I guarantee if you like pure metal, you'll at least enjoy this album.