Stormhunter – Crime And Punishment
With a name like Stormhunter and a country of origin like Germany, is it really hard to guess what these guys are going to play? That’s right, folk-inspired death metal with female vocals! No, Stormhunter is just about as Teutonic as it gets, following in the footsteps of Running Wild, Grave Digger, early Helloween, Paragon and of course Stormwarrior. The blueprint is familiar: speedy riffs, tons of twin harmonies and belligerent lyrics. Nostalgic to the bone, Crime And Punishment can make us believe for 46 minutes that we are in the eighties again. Damn that Iron Curtain!
It’s not often that the guitar parts of a song are catchier than the vocals, but Stormhunter is a healthy exception. Some battle hymns here are worthy of a boisterous sing-along while plunging a double-bladed axe into the nearest anti-metalhead’s face, yet they are no match for the six-stringed axes of Stefan Müller and Julia Weiss (women who play metal instruments are awesome) and their infectious lead melodies. Go listen to “Perfect World” and not hum that all day long, I bet you fail miserably and cry afterwards.
The choruses are sadly not that stellar and fall just short of that level where you want to behead everyone who doesn’t share your musical interests. When singer Frank Urschler is supported by his ballsy backing vocals he can really drive his point home into your skull, but alone he doesn’t quite entice me to go to bloody war with this or that tribe, but rather to settle an argument with them over trade regulations. His voice has potential, although he should go more mental next time. Make me really feel you want me to bang my head into several concussions, Frank, I’m counting on you to dislocate my neck muscles!
Luckily there is the occasional flash of Running Wild-esque brilliance with “Condemned Stranger” and “Inner Demon”, which are both happily infectious and should do well live with a more than averagely inebriated audience. I see them furiously spilling beer while fist-pumping in the air already. “Knights Of Metal (Part I)” sounds so much like Manowar in both title and concept that I just KNOW there will never be a part II. The lyrics are made up of famous heavy metal songs, something the American destroyers of decibels already tried on “Blood Of The Kings”. Somewhere, Joey DeMaio is nodding proudly while stroking a picture of himself playing bass. “The Final Battle” has a refrain reminiscent of Grave Digger’s best battle-inducing anthems and is there really a bigger compliment? No there is not! The title track closes the album and shows some hints in a more epic direction which I would like to see the band elaborate on. Are you keeping track of all my notes, guys, or just sharpening your swords to stab me?
If all you want out of life is another Teutonic heavy metal album to play at maximum volume, blast the plaster of your walls and annoy countless neighbors then Crime And Punishment should already be in your stereo burning circles into whatever surface it’s placed upon. Stormhunter will never change the world, but they have a good shot at blowing it up and that’s an achievement in its own right. Good for hunting storms or runaway posers, not for intimate romantic dinners with your girlfriend. Unless she’s MADE OF STEEL.
Arno Callens’ Rating: 3,5 out of 5