Northern Irish heavy metallers Stormzone are a band that have had their fair share of success despite being relatively unknown. The band have performed at many festivals including Sweden Rock, Firefest and Z-Rock as well as touring extensively across the U.K and Europe. Stormzone‘s delve into a more guitar heavy genre scored them a record contract with SPV/Steamhammer Records under the management of Jess Cox, the original Tygers Of Pan Tang vocalist. The band’s latest effort “Three Kings” keeps within their current formula and sees a rebirth in the noises inspired by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, released through Metal Nation Records.
After a series of air raid sirens and a speech by Winston Churchill, similar to that used by Iron Maiden, the opening track ‘The Pain Inside’ begins in proper. Walking through this gateway you are hit with a barrage of ingredients that makes up the classic British Heavy Metal, heavy chugging, pounding drums, shred solos and operatic vocals. This formula never ceases, only in the more dynamic songs like ‘Alive’ and ‘Beware In Time’ does the sound really change, still staying within the safe parameters of NWOBHM. The chorus are truly passionate and the vocal capabilities of Harv Harbinson are ever present in songs like ‘Spectre’ and the subtleties greater explored in previously mentioned ‘Beware In Time’. Closer ‘Out Of Eden’ is one of the best tracks on this album and should definitely have been higher up on the track listing.
Whilst Harbinson is a decent enough vocalist there is talent to be found in the instrumental section of Stormzone too. The guitar partnership of David Shields and Steve Moore is wondrous, clearly both very experienced players. They manage to play only what is needed, but when the spot light is on them they truly make the most of it. The rhythm section consisting of Graham McNulty on bass and Davy Bates on percussion too is perfect. The duo provide a stable foundation for the other three to build their masterpiece over.
Though “Three Kings” is still a highly enjoyable album the only downside is it’s not entirely original. It’ll be great for familiarity and nostalgia but, although there are some more modern influences thrown into the mix, there’s no real exploration into innovation. Despite this criticism it’s still a great album that is sadly in the wrong time, given it’s release in the right era it could have been one of British Heavy Metal’s masterpieces.
One for fans of British Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock that want modern metal to return to how it should be played. The virtuoso brilliance needs the attention it deserves.