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Stormburner - Shadow Rising - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, December 30th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Pure Steel Records

Once you started to believe you got your YE list together a late AotY contender comes flying in messing things up again. Stormburner are a new band I have never heard of before but given their name and the fact that their debut full length “Shadow Rising” has been released by Pure Steel Records I had a pretty strong indication about what to expect once the play button has been hit. These Swedish metal Vikings knew exactly what they wanted to achieve delivering ten tales about Northern myths and brave warriors. While offering zero innovation they sound so energetic and absolutely professional.

The riffs are sharp and perfectly executed and some of the chord progressions are of such an uplifting and rocking nature that one cannot help but bang the head while listening to the music. The rhythm and the lead guitars are perfectly harmonized offering a perfect blend of straight rocking grooves and some clever placed melodic elements. Of course there are solo parts to be found as well but those are never overdone hurting the flow of the music. The mixture of the crunchy main riffs and euphoric lead harmonies makes up for a perfectly entertaining listening experience. The main chords are glorious and fascinating and sometimes have a slightly melancholic and always epic touch. Guitarists Mats and Tommi have done a great job of presenting some subtle variations of the trademark riffs over the course of the record. Themes similar to the ones of prior songs are picked up again and woven into other tracks giving the whole record a great and coherent flow.

The drumming is fast and ferocious pushing the music even more forward. The speed and intensity are kept high over most of the playing time with only a few slowed down parts. Thankfully the band members are very talented songwriters making sure that each song is easily distinguishable from the others so that there is not one moment of boredom. That being said the album has a very stringent feel leading to a very satisfying listening experience when consuming the whole record in one sitting.

Most songs are highly addictive with a nice mixture of faster and a few mid-tempo tracks. There are some outstanding chorus parts to be found here and with Micke Stark Stormburner have an absolute weapon as their vocalist. His soaring delivery is the icing on the cake turning each of the songs into a battle hymn of the highest order. He switches between mid-range and high screams with ease without ever missing a single note.

The production is flawless with every instrument sounding crystal clear. The mix shows just the right balance between offering a certain crunchiness without burying any detail. It is pretty obvious that a lot of effort and passion has been put into “Shadow Rising” and in case you are looking for a slice of catchy and delicious traditional/power metal, look no further. Must-have for fans of this style.