Absent from the studio for nearly six years, Germany's Stormhammer makes their return with a new line up and album, Echoes of a Lost Paradise. New band members include a new vocalist Jürgen Dachl (ex-Diabolos Dust), guitarist Bernd Intveen (ex-van Langen, ex-The Roxx) and drummer Chris Widmann (ex-Emergency Gate).
I'd like to say that the line up changes have brought some new musical inspiration, but I'm not sure that's the case. Stormhammer sticks with their tried and true Teutonic heavy power metal. Yet, there are some notable, possibly novel, elements. One is Dachl's vocals which range from raw to screamo to death vocals, giving the band's sound a more coarse edge. While I don't recall they using them in the past, the death vocals appear most notable within Leaving. And again, I think death vocals suck, so this addition is not all that interesting. Another element of interest is the inclusion of keyboard and programming. Mostly done in the studio, the keyboards ride underneath everything, yet obvious with close listening. But largely they're crushed by the riffage and such. Their best appearance comes in the opening instrumental intro.
Otherwise, with few exceptions, the songs are basically galloping power metal with lots of sharp and heavy riffage and more than a few burning guitar solos. In other words, the standard fare for Stormhammer. The exceptions come in the form of two very satisfying songs different from the rest. Both Into Darkest Void and The Ocean are heavy metal anthems that make use of acoustic and folk elements, even some piano in the latter song. You also get a better sounding Jurgen Dachl, with a more traditional melodic metal voice, with the slightest of strain and coarseness. In the end, Echoes of a Lost Paradise is essentially a return to form for Stormhammer, solid, but expected, power metal from these metal veterans.
Echoes of a Lost Paradise is essentially a return to form for Stormhammer, solid, but expected, power metal from these metal veterans.
In the early Eighties, one of the first American metal bands that caught my interest was New York's Riot, founded by guitarist Mark Reale (1955-2012). Albums like Narita and Fire Down Under were classics of ... [ Read More ]