THERE can be no doubt about the consistency of Stormzone’s output to date; the question is could they maintain that level on new release ‘Seven Sins’… The answer is they have not only matched it, they’ve exceeded it on an ambitious concept album replete with dark tales.
From the almost Arabic intro strains of opener ‘Bethsheba’ this is a glorious old school metal with the right of amount of 21st Century pizzazz. There are no week tracks here, there are no fillers – just wall-to-wall riffs they way they should be played.
This is the fifth outing from the team and it is by far their most mature release, and by far their best: a true evolution in the sound and fury of Stormzone. The album concept can be seen as allegorical; set in the 18th Century…through our extensive research (Google) we identified the musical weight of Johann Sebastian Bach was the metal equivalent in music. But the concept of this album is not about the music scene in the 1700s.
This is a morbid glimpse inside the Seven Sins Emporium, run by the shadowy Dr Dealer (Stormzone, of course have an album with the title ‘Death Dealer’). Dr Dealer and his motley crew of fellow misfits tempt men to test their strength and resolve inside the Emporium. That the band pull this off is a tribute in itself, with the glorious ‘Special Brew’ amongst the best examples on the album with its rolling riffery matched only by a chorus sequence to delight lovers of metal melodies.
Pulling all the elements together was a challenge as vocalist, lyricist and founding member John ‘Harv’ Harbinson explained:
“It’s hard to describe Seven Sins in one paragraph… the story-line is so complex. It’s a very dark subject. It’s touch and go at times with regards to how far you can go with it, but at the end of it all there’s hope.”
The line “nothing is what it seems” from ‘You’re Not The Same’ sums up the layers, both lyrically and musically on ‘Seven Sins’.
Capturing the sound at the production helm guitarist Steve Moore showcases a lot of tasty solos amid the riffs – the balance in his playing working well throughout. However, the rhythm section of Graham McNulty (bass) and Davy ‘Basher’ Bates keep the whole album locked down, preventing it from running away from itself.
While ‘Special Brew’ is the stand-out track the headlong speed of ‘Abandoned Souls’ runs it a close second: but more importantly while these emerged as personal favourites there really is not a weak track amongst the 12 on display
And if 12 songs aren’t enough for you there is more… The physical CD booklet includes a code within its pages and fans will have the opportunity to enter it into the official Stormzone website and if they get the order correct there is a download a further four brand new songs not available on the album.
Now, that’s a good deal on top of what is a top notch release – heavy metal as it should be, intelligent, loud, proud and ripe for multiple listens!
Seven Sins is released on Metal Nation Records on August 3rd.
Review by Jonny
A lifelong Metalhead and prolific reviewer, Jonny is a part of the team here at Devils Gate Media. Since 2006, Jonny has been the owner of BELFAST METALHEADS REUNITED.
Check out Jonny’s blog for more album and gig reviews.