STORMHAMMER from Germany is a band that I had the chance to follow through the years. Actually I have bought their first 3 releases and the only album that I haven’t checked out from them is their previous release entitled “Signs of Revolution” which was released back in 2009. Six years have passed since then and STORMHAMMER have finally decided to break the silence and release their 5th studio album from their new label (I really don’t know why this band has changed so many labels through the years). Without being sure I think that the gap between the previous release and this one had something to do with the line – up changes that happened in the band through the years. In the new album STORMHAMMER have a new singer (Jürgen Dachl), guitarist (Bernd Intveen) and drummer (Chris Widmann). The line – up changes usually bring some changes to the sound of the band too, but let us hit the play button and reach our own conclusions…
THE COVER: Ah the painting of the new release of STORMHAMMER is really beautiful, is the kind of painting that I like and makes me wonder… Who is this caped person on the boat and which is this frozen sea upon which he sails? And the most important thing which is this stone fortress covered in ice he heads to? Maybe it is Valhalla? You can make your own assumptions. This beautiful cover artwork was made by artist Jan Yrlund.
MUSICAL STYLE: The band musically has been moving from the start on the paths of melodic heavy/power metal. They, of course, had the elements that we are used to calling euro – power metal and of course they used some keyboards (which they still do). I think that STORMHAMMER as a band emphasized on melodies and they had similarities to such groups like HAMMERFALL and NOCTURNAL RITES. However the new musicians brought to the band some changes. Don’t worry they still belong to the power metal genre, but this time the compositions have a thrash edge and I think that STORMHAMMER have introduced in their new album many U.S. power metal elements. I can say that they have become more aggressive in their sound, but they have also kept their melodic intentions.
COMPOSITIONS: “Echoes of a Lost Paradise”, the new album of STORMHAMMER, includes 12 new compositions and all of them have the new elements that the band brings to its sound. In specific the band has kept its melodic lines and melodies, but they have also given to their sound an aggressive edge that flirts with the thrash metal sound. Also the band still uses the keyboards and there are times that they give to the band’s sound a cinematic touch. The tracks that are included here have variety, but their weak point (if you can say that) is that they lack in catchy melodies that will stay in your mind. On the other hand this is an album that the more you listen to the more you like it. I think it needs to be given some time and it will pay you back.
CONCLUSION: STORMHAMMER in their fifth release have brought to their sound new elements and they have given to their sound a thrash edge. The important thing though is that they have not lost their musical identity, but they have rather enriched it. Actually these changes they have introduced are rather successful and I believe that they will make the band known to other metal fans as well. This is a release that I can recommend to people who are stuck in the early days of such bands like ICED EARTH and BLIND GUARDIAN.