Stormrider – The Path Of Salvation

October 24, 2012 in Reviews by Kylie

The Path Of Salvation

After hearing “Never Surrender” from their debut Shipwrecked, I was hooked on this band long enough to get the album, listen to it a considerable number of times, and then promptly forgot about this band to miss their second album entirely, only now realizing that they had a third on the horizon. Their debut always struck me as a bit of an amateurish attempt at making mid-tempo Gamma Ray with incredibly low-pitched vocals from Stefan Hebes. Not much has changed in seven years, other than they no longer sound like an indie band on a debut recording.

So yes, Hebes’s baritone might be a bit of a turnoff for the majority of power metal fans out there. I, however, can tolerate them as he manages to sound good and his voice does complement the music. He can scream and does in a few places, but it’s not something needed here. Some of you might want the karaoke version of the album, though.

Musically, this is far more “marching” than “galloping” power metal, though the pace is picked up in quite a few tracks. If you enjoy Seven Kingdoms musically, but wish they had a male singer, this might be for you, as it’s the best comparison I can make (though Seven Kingdoms has a bit more thrash and USPM influence, while Stormrider is unmistakably German). Although the lyrical themes have been done about half a billion times (it’s Dante’s Inferno), it doesn’t really detract from the music…but it does beg the question as to why no one has ever tried to do a Purgatory or Paradise concept album.

For anyone who has heard Shipwrecked (and I assume their sophomore album The Fate Of The Hunter, which I have not heard), you’ll immediately notice a marked improvement in the performance, particularly in the numerous guitar solos and leads. There is a good amount of shredding here, but never at the expense of the riffs, which are numerous and of supreme quality.

“Long Way Down” and “The Sentence Divine” are the standout highlights, along with the more speed metal “Walls Of Fire” and the thrashy “Into The Light.” Nothing comes to mind for any “weak” songs, but the album feels a tad overlong in places (“Across The Acheron” and “Heretics” in particular).

All in all, this is a very good Teutonic power metal album with some…unique vocals. I could go for a little bit of pruning to cut the album down to 50 minutes instead of 55 as it can get a bit long-winded for its own good. It’s not much of a complaint, but there are ways to make a “short 55 minutes/10 song album” and a “long 55 minutes/10 song album.” Other than that, I can say that I recommend this to anyone who loves powerful power metal.

Also, this is Stormrider from Herne, not Stormrider from Mühlacker.

Kylie’s rating: 4.0 out of 5