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Germany’s Stormwarrior have returned to give us another huge slab of Viking-style speed power metal with their new CD called ‘Heading Northe’. So get your armour on, your sword out, raise your fist in the air, and be prepared for an onslaught of scorching riffs, fast drumming, melodic vocals, and endless screaming solos.
‘Heading Northe’ is Stormwarrior’s 3rd studio release to the previously successful CDs ‘Northern rage’ and ‘s/t’. Both previous releases received excellent reviews within the metal world and Stormwarrior continues with that trend with this new CD. It's so excellent in fact that Stormwarrior have changed record companies, moving from Remedy Records to find a new home with Dockyard 1, standing alongside bands such as Virgin Steele, Persuader and Dreamland.
Since Stomwarrior’s last release ('Northern rage'), there have been 2 new acquisitions to the band. Leaving Stormwarrior were guitarist David Wiczorek and bassist Jussi Zimmermann. Their replacements are ex-Iron Savior bassist Jens “Yenz” Leonhardt and guitarist Alex Guth. With help with the mixing by Piet Sielck and then mastering by Tommy Hansen, who has collaborated with such bands as Helloween and Hammerfall, ‘Heading Northe’ should be Stormwarrior’s finest release to date... and it is.
With influences and similarities ranging from early Helloween, early Running Wild, early Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray, Stormwarrior serves up another blistering, flaming ball of ferocious speed metal, not letting up for a second after the "Viking Call" build-up intro. Mr. Thunder Axe himself, vocalist Lars Ramcke sings up another storm, his rough but polished vocals bark out the melodic tunes (think of a raspier and higher sounding Kai Hansen) surrounded by aggressive guitar melodies, hooks, riffs, solos, and almost military-style, precise drumming. The Viking mythologies which grace the vast majority of their songwriting are not original, but Stormwarrior make it sound fantastic.
Without a doubt the best track on the CD belongs to the metal hymn “Metal legacy” which captures everything that is Stormwarrior at their best: kick-ass riffs that are quite melodic and aggressive and with a top-notch solo accompanying Ramcke’s rough, but soaring vocals. Other top songs on ‘Heading Northe’ include the title track, “Heading Northe”, “Iron Gods”, the head-banging metal hymn “The Revenge of Asa Lande”, “Lion of the Northe” and the CD closer “Into the battle” accompanying the instrumental outro “And the Valkyries Ride”.
If you are a speed metal freak or a fan of fast-paced power metal, then you should have already heard of Stormwarrior. If not, then do yourself a favour and pick up this CD, or any of their releases for that matter. Stormwarrior have easily passed the “all important 3rd CD” test with flying colours and should be a force to be reckoned with within the power metal ranks and I eagerly await their 4th studio release.
Originally reviewed for www.metalcdratings.com