STORMZONE – Seven Sins (2015)
“Seven Sins” is the the brand new album by STORMZONE, a rocking four-piece from Northern Ireland. Stormzone plays classic metal, and although I am not much into the genre these days, I must say this is pretty fandamntastic.
Stormzone’s style is traditional British metal, and the one watering from the best pedigree: a thin red line between what is ’80s Iron Maiden regarding to its twin guitar harmonies and rhythmic artistry, and what is considered to Saxon, thick layered rhythm six-string work mostly simplified and straight-on vocals of the British brand.
Add to that some early Queensryche, Praying Mantis and a dash of Tygers of Pan Tang. Certainly, I found this record to be of the top notch mixtures between these gods of Metal. And really well done.
All this means is that the brisk riffage, rumbling rhythm section, and soaring guitar solos are wrapped up in harmony, melody, and groove. Much of the same is led by John “Harv” Harbinson strong, clear and clean vocal arrangements. While emphatic and direct, Harbinson clearly values melody in his voice.
Then the riffs and chord structure add also to the same. Yeah, Steve Moore delivers riffs from sleek and slippery to heavy and forceful, but harmony and melody inform everything.
As for the songs, those who like this classic genre will enjoy the whole, but also the variety in “Seven Sins”.
The album has some kind of concept based around the story of the latest incarnation of ‘The Dealer’ – a character who seems has been featured, in various forms, on each of Stormzone’s previous albums. But what rules here is the music itself.
The ambition of the album is evident right from the very start, with the haunting violin and drum intro to ‘Bathsheba’, before the song rips into a roundhouse of volleying riffs and a powerhouse percussive beatdown from Davy Bates, whose enduring enthusiasm for what he does can be practically felt with every contact between stick and skin. With Graham McNulty’s bass rumbling away in the background, Steve Moore’s frenetic fretwork drives the song with force while there are some neat eastern touches, especially in the rolling riff which dominates the rousing final section.
Over the top of everything, Harbinson delivers a soaring performance, his rich falsetto rising and falling in perfect harmony with the rise and fall of the body of the music.
‘Another Rainy Night’ is more of a traditional hard rocker, and one of my favorites, plenty of groove and charm via clean guitars and an almost catchy chorus. I don’t know why, but reminds me 1984 Whitesnake.
‘Your Time Has Come’ punches hard, and features another hugely impressive performance from ‘Basher’ Bates, whose provides not only a rock solid foundation but also surprising and simply effective little fills which match both McNulty’s equally concrete base runs and Moore’s harmonic asides.
‘The One That Got Away’ initially references Stormzone’s metal heritage, but slowly evolves into another relatively traditional hard rocker, characterized by a suitably spiteful vocal from Harbinson and a punchy main riff ready for the arenas.
‘I Know Your Pain’ sees the band descending once again into the dank depths of Dr Dealer’s worst nightmares, and again features a storming (sic) performance from Bates, and is the perfect precursor for the brooding yet towering title track, which dominates the middle of the album, while ‘You’re Not The Same’ stomps it’s way through your chest cavity – thanks in no part to an elegiac bass performance by McNulty – with a dark intent of the sort which has been hinted at throughout the album so far but is brought to full fruition.
The dark theme remains through ‘Raise The Knife’ which, like a couple of the earlier tracks, has strong echoes of Queensrÿche at their most grandiose, but with a much more acidic edge than the clean-cut Americans could ever have imagined.
The album tumbles into its final third with the fiercesome ‘Abandoned Souls’, the atmospheric ‘Special Brew’, more classy British metal in ‘Master Of Sorrow’ with its use of contrasting slow and fast passages, and closer ‘Born Of The Damned’, another slow builder, with Harv’s vocal and Moore’s chugging riff dominating the first two choruses, while Basher and McNulty gradually are drawn in to deliver a suitably anthemic finale and another song which should establish itself as a lighter-waving, fist-punching live anthem before too long.
“Seven Sins” is my first experience with Stormzone, and I’m more than a little impressed.
You have it all here; strong musicianship, very good songwriting, right production. Both classic and entertaining melodic Classic British metal / hard rock. What’s not to like?
01 – Bathsheba
02 – Another Rainy Night
03 – Your Time Has Come
04 – The One That Got Away
05 – I Know Your Pain
06 – Seven Sins
07 – You’re Not the Same
08 – Raise the Knife
09 – Abandoned Souls
10 – Special Brew
11 – Master of Sorrow
12 – Born of the Damned
John “Harv” Harbinson – Vocals
Steve Moore – Guitars
Graham McNulty – Bass
Davy Bates – Drums
BUT IT !