Neal Kay, who could rightly be considered the godfather of The New Wave of British Heavy Metal, says that this is the band and the album he’s been waiting for 30 plus years for. It’s pretty obvious to hear why Neal might be keen. Dublin five-piece Stormzone play the sort of classic metal he helped make popular. In fact, there’s little here, production aside, that couldn’t have been blasting from the speakers of Neal club 30 plus years ago!
Stormzone combine the windswept, vaguely celtic sounds of ‘Wild Frontier’ era Gary Moore with the mid-paced chug of Saxon and the duelling guitars of classic Iron Maiden. However, the laser-cut melodies and classy harmonies raise it above pastiche and more often than not bring to mind Queensryche in their pomp.
“Zero To Rage” is the sonic equivalent to sipping your favourite organic beer out of a frosted crystal glass. It’s all comfortingly familiar once you get past the presentation. I’m afraid though that after a while, comforting and familiar become dull and boring. This is a pretty long album, twelve tracks, most of which are over five minutes long, and all pretty much played at a similar mid-tempo gallop.
Standout tracks are ‘Jester’s Laughter’, which is interesting lyrically and had me humming along after a couple of minutes, and the slightly faster ‘Uprising’. It’s possible that if Planet Rock picked up on this album it could find quite a following. I’m sure there is an audience for it, even if I’m not among them. That said, the whole album is clearly a labour of love, and the passion and commitment is obvious. Good luck to them.