Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stormzone – Zero To Rage



Man, I love power metal.  It’s a sub-genre that really doesn’t seem to go over too well here in America, and I don’t know why.  I’ve heard people say its cheesy, but really, like we don’t have any other cheesy things here?  Or sometimes I’ll hear that it’s too “over the top”, but have you ever watched WWE or any of that shit?  Power metal seems like it would be made for Americans, but most American metal fans just don’t seem to get it.  Europeans, though, absolutely lose their minds over this stuff.

Which brings us to the subject at hand, the latest release from a band called Stormzone. Zero To Rage is the album and it is very well done.  All the necessary components are there.  Big anthemic songs, check.  Singer with a range that makes you say, “How does he do that?”, check.  Songs about heroes, fighting, monsters, check, check and check.  And songs about jesters.  How come only European bands write songs about jesters? 

Opening song “Where We Belong” sets the tone for the entire album, so if you hear that song and you can’t get into it you might as well just not put any more time in.  But if you stick with it you will be rewarded with some very good stuff.  One of the things I really dig about power metal is that there is always good, melodic music going on, and always good musicianship as well.  It is probably the only form of metal that really focuses on melody and there is nothing wrong with that.  There are technical forms of metal that have musicianship to spare, but often the music sounds soulless.  Power metal will never be accused of that.

The standout tracks for me on this album are “Jester’s Laughter”, “Last Man Fighting”, “Voice Inside My Head”, and “Hail The Brave”.  There are all fine examples of really good power metal, although the entire album is full of good tunes.  The lyrics all tell a story, and because of the clean vocals you can actually hear the story and understand it.  I like the production of the album as well, all of the various instruments are well placed in the mix and you can easily hear what each one is doing.  Sometimes this kind of thing gets taken for granted, but with more and more music being shabbily recorded and dumped into the market place, the good stuff stands out more easily.

I really only have one quibble with this album.  It has 12 tracks and clocks in over 72 minutes.  That’s an average of 6 minutes a track and it does make for a very long listen.  I once heard it said that just because you can fit 80 minutes onto a CD it doesn’t mean you should, and there can be too much sometimes.  As much as I love this genre this album is almost at the point of being too much, but barely saves itself.  So check it out if you like power metal, this release is worth spending some time with.

-- ODIN


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