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Tope Notche Mediocritye - 68%

BastardHead, March 17th, 2008

Welle, whate doe we have here? Ae Germane speede metale bande withe Kai Hansen'se approvale ofe awesomenesse? Thate hase toe rule righte?

Okay, first off, the whole gimmick with adding an "e" to the end of every word is exceedingly stupid and needs to metaphorically suck out farts and die. I'm not marking down points for that, that would be retarded. It's not detrimental to the music, just really fucking annoying.

Now, superficial vent aside, let's get to the subject of the review, Stormwarrior. About twenty seconds into the first song, I proclaimed out loud "twenty bucks says they're from Germany", and I was right. The German speed metal sound is a very distinct one, and is one of the only styles that one can immediately identify the geographic location of a band upon hearing them. Frankly, I love that sound, but Stormwarrior has taken worship to the extreme. As much fun as this album is, there is not a single original note throughout the entirety of the record.

The one word that best describes Stormwarrior's self titled debut is "Deja-vu". Not one riff doesn't sound like something you heard on Walls of Jericho almost twenty years prior. Usually this is a good thing, but this is blatant, unimaginative worship on an almost Trivium-esque scale. This doesn't sound as much like a throwback to the good ol' days of 1985 as it is undoubtedly attempting to be. Instead, it sounds like a cover band, albeit a very good one. Deceiver might as well have been named "Murderer", as it's the same goddamn song. Even the vocalist sounds EXACTLY like Kai Hansen. Jens Carlsson sounds nearly identical to Hansi Kursch, so why do I lambast Thunder Axe for sounding nearly identical to Kai Hansen? Because Persuader actually accomplishes something that Stormwarrior merely attempt yet sadly fail at, writing orignal, creative, and unique songs.

As if it wasn't bad enough that this was essentially a half assed attempt at writing Walls of Jericho part II, they decided to take their unoriginality to the next level by having Kai Hansen produce the album, contribute a solo or two and some backing vocals, and even cover Heavy Metal (Is the Law) with him singing! Jesus man, I guess if you can't hide your blatant plagiarism, you might as well have the original writer endorse it eh? I really don't see what people are talking about when they say that Stormwarrior "puts an original spin on the old style". What original spin? There is none! The music (which, mind you, is what actually counts) sounds like every early/mid eighties German speed metal record sounded like. I'm sorry, but changing the lyrical subject matter from fantasy or pirates to vikings does not make one a creative individual. Stormwarrior is to Walls of Jericho and Gates to Purgatory as what The Crusade is to Master of Puppets.

Now, despite all this negativity, this isn't actually a bad album. As the title states, this is top notch mediocrity. They do nothing original, but they do it extremely well. Even though this is pretty much 50 minutes of rehashed Helloween and Running Wild riffs/melodies, it's still a fun experience the first time through. The album definitely loses it's touch after a couple spins, but some songs (Deathe by the Blade, Signe of the Warlorde) are honestly excellent songs. The production is excellent, the musicianship is great, and when you really think about it, all of the elements to a great album are there... the only lacking quality is originality.

This album was tailor made for early speed metal fans, but it's only an amazing album if you can look past the glaring unoriginality. On the whole, it's a decent record. It gets boring by the end due to a very severe lack of variety, but again, it isn't terrible. I would say that Kai would be disappointed with a band trying so hard yet failing to capture the magic that he emanates, but apparently he's so proud of this band that he made sure he blew his load all over the album. So a D+ to Stormwarrior. It's a fun record on the first spin, but that's about it. Every last song sounds like the one before it, which all incidentally sound like something we've all heard a million times before.