STORMZONE – Ignite The Machine (2020)
Traditional metal / classic hard band STORMZONE has seen a number of successes over its seventeen years in existence. From playing support for some of the biggest acts in rock such as White Lion, Tesla and Saxon to playing major festivals across Europe like Firefest, Sweden Rock and the legendary Wacken Open Air festival, STORMZONE have proved over the years that not only can they hang with the big guns in rock, when it comes to traditional metal & melodic hard rock in Ireland, North and South, they are the big guns.
The guys are back again for the next chapter in the STORMZONE legacy with ”Ignite The Machine”, and let me put it simple; if you’re a traditional metal or melodic hard rock fan then you need to add this to your collection. It would be incomplete if you didn’t.
Last year STORMZONE vocalist John “Harv” Harbinson ventured out on his own for his first full length solo effort with “Into The Asylum”, which was a blistering concept album that saw well deserved success across various parts of Europe.
2018 saw the band release their most successful album to date in “Lucifer’s Factory”. An album based on Irish legends, with top notch production, unyielding riffs and songs with catchy sing-along choruses. A collection of songs, which I personally thought was better than some of the albums released by the more prominent Rock acts that year.
July 2020 sees STORMZONE endeavour to follow up on and equal, if not better, the success of their previous album with their seventh full length release, “Ignite The Machine”.
The album will be released through their new label Metalapolis Records, who were also behind the release of Harbinson’s solo album last year.
After a number of band member changes over the years, “Ignite The Machine”, sees the return of what is arguably considered as their best line-up, who have not recorded together since the 2013 release “Three Kings”.
John “Harv” Harbinson on vocals, Graham McNulty on bass guitar, Davy Bates on drums, Dave Shields on guitar and Steve Moore on guitar. Moore not only does guitar duty for the album, but also returns as producer once again following the success of the previous release.
The album starts with “Tolling Of The Bell”. A great opening song and introduction to what you can expect from the album. A nice blend of traditional metal and classic rock with solid melodic guitar work and a great catchy chorus.
We pick up the pace a little with the next song which is also the title track of the album “Ignite The Machine”. A very speedy song with great gang style vocals and a blistering guitar solo that puts duelling guitarists Steve Moore and Dave Shields to very good use.
“My Disease” follows this up. A traditional 80s metal song with a great bass groove to it from Graham McNulty. A very catchy bridge and chorus with some very nice harmonizing style vocals on this track.
The opening of next track “Each Setting Sun” begins with keyboards, which is then joined by guitar and gives you the feeling that we are slowing things down a little, but that soon changes pretty quickly once the rest of the band kicks in.
“Dragon Cartel” is one of my personal favourites from the new album. A song with catchy hooks and yet again, a great guitar solo. A heavy sounding track with a melodic chorus. “Nothing To Fear” is where we slow things down a little so to help you get your breath back. A good song with solid drumming and a nice bass groove that brings this one along nicely.
After getting our breath back we are thrown headfirst into “Revolution”. This one picks the pace back up again. The song opens with a catchy riff which is also repeated in the chorus. A fun song with coll harmonizing vocals and another solid guitar solo from the duo of Moore / Shields.
“New Age Necromancer” is a very traditional sounding STORMZONE track and features everything you would normally expect from the band. Featuring twin riffs and a sing-a-long chorus. Definitely a song for the diehard STORMZONE fan.
Midtempo “Flame The Never Dies” is pleasant sounding with its acoustic guitar and vocals, which then builds to a more hard rocking. A really well-crafted song and another fav of mine.
“Under Her Spell” is some kinda a ballad, but without sacrificing heaviness. The band sound awesome and play really well together on this one and shows how well all of the elements come together with this line-up.
The album comes to a close with “This Is Heavy Metal”. Bass line and drums open this track and set the pace for this one. I could see this being a very popular song live. Featuring gang style vocals of “hey, hey, hey, hey”, you can really envision the crowd chanting along to this at concerts.
The song itself is an ode to Heavy Metal and mentions a number of classic Metal album titles in the last section on the song. A great song choice to finish off the album.
STORMZONE have returned with this release exactly where the previous left off, but with one difference: this album is even better. It’s pretty much flawless, if I can say that. And they have absolutely raised the bar for themselves with this release.
STORMZONE’s signature sound is still present; the melodies, the catchy hooks, the blistering riffs and memorable choruses are all there. The sound and production is top notch. The quality of the lyrics, music and sound is abundant on the album from top to bottom and across all twelve tracks featured within.
Usually you have what is classed as filler tracks among the high points of an album, but in the case of “Ignite The Machine”, every song has its high points and not a single filler to be heard. This is an album that is all killer and no filler.
If you are a STORMZONE fan then you need to buy this. If you’re a traditional metal fan or melodic hard rock fan then you need to add this to your collection. It’s one of the strongest releases of the year in this genre.
01 – Tolling of the Bell
02 – Ignite the Machine
03 – My Disease
04 – Each Setting Sun
05 – Dragon Cartel
06 – Nothing to Fear
07 – Revolution
08 – New Age Necromancer
09 – Dealer’s Reign
10 – Flame That Never Dies
11 – Under Her Spell
12 – This Is Heavy Metal
John “Harv” Harbinson – Vocals
Graham McNulty – Bass, Backing Vocals
David Bates – Drums
Steve Moore – Guitars
Dave Shields – Guitars