Confession: Ireland’s Stormzone are a new one on me despite Lucifer’s Factory being their sixth release. So I now have to sit and wonder how the hell they’ve manage to pass me by for twelve years. Based on the thirteen tracks I’ve listened to more times than I can now count, they’re… well, they’re bloody brilliant.
Slap bang in the category labelled “heavy fucking metal”, Stormzone pull in the teensiest edge of symphonic or melodic to their sound. Enough to give them a bit of bombasity around a chorus here and there, such as in “Last Night In Hell”, but not enough to put them up against the likes of Nightwish or Epica. Stormzone, I think it would be fair to say, would very much appeal to the likes of the Maiden and Priest audience.
The band manage to throw riffs around like confetti, from the storming headbanging ones to the more intricate. Each can be heard perfectly, from four strings to six, courtesy of some superb production, too. Check out the intros to “Albhartach” and “We Are Strong”, for instance. These couldn’t be any more different in terms of pace and tone, but both are played and recorded perfectly. Add the nice thumping rhythm section and some top notch vocals and you have a great-sounding act.
What the band have nailed is the balance between heavy and singalong. You can rock your head back and forth one moment, air guitar your way through a solo and then scream out the chorus to just about any track on here and love every second of doing it.
Opening track “Dark Hedges” has had the video treatment and you can check it out below. I’m pretty confident that if you like this, you’ll love the rest of the album. The only track which stands out as being hugely different from the rest is closer “Time To Go” which heads into Celtic ballad territory. It’s still good, it’s just very much left of field compared to the other dozen songs.
I’m really only left with one question: why didn’t any of you buggers tell me about Stormzone before? I’ve been missing out!
Lucifer’s Factory is out on April 23rd.