Stallion – Slaves of Time (High Roller Records)Friday, 28th February 2020
The critical third studio album is what we have here from German speed/heavy metal act Stallion for Slaves of Time. Intertwining a love of European, Canadian, and US metal throughout their sound – their first two albums Rise and Ride and From the Dead gained serious support from the legions of old school heavy metal maniacs looking for a lot of 80’s speed, exciting lead breaks, and upper register vocals with primal screams. Gaining a new second guitarist in 2019 with Clode Savage, the five-piece appear armed and dangerous in continuing their full-frontal aural assault on the audience – delivering ten more tracks that showcase their ability to travel into speedy terrain as well as being melodic/commercial when necessary without watering down their ideas into ‘cheesy’ horizons.
Reminding their faithful that they love their speed metal, the first two tracks “Waking the Demons” and “No Mercy” will assure people that adrenaline-fueled riffs, thunderous double kick, and roaring upper register choruses still reign supreme for Stallion, rivalling compatriots like Skull Fist and Enforcer. On the other side of the coin, when they want to dial back into more of a commercial hard rock or bluesy sheen, that’s where thoughts of AC/DC or Bullet come into play for “Time to Reload”, or even the Scorpions for the seven-minute plus ballad “Die With Me”, where bassist Christian Stämpfe gets a solid opening bass spotlight against the majestic electric/clean guitar mechanics and emotionally charged melodies from Pauly on the microphone. It feels like throughout the record Stallion as performers and songwriters have stretched their abilities to that extra dimension – be it changing up a specific guitar riff in one spot, tempo juggling, or additional background gang vocal support – and it carries more weight for sustained listening as the album moves along. The dynamics work wonders as the record accelerates, decelerates, and picks up again – with the axe play of Axxl and Clode mesmerizing, as they throw down so many tricks, harmonies, and runs individually and together that recall a lot of classic duels you would hear from Iron Maiden or Judas Priest in their 80’s prime. Favorites change by the day – the Motörhead-ish “Dynamiter” and aforementioned “No Mercy” working the old headbanging noggin’ just fine.
We need bands like Stallion to stand up for the speed/heavy metal cause, exhilarating the listeners and leaving no stone unturned in their quest for headlining status – hopefully pushing the old guard to match their output with their future records.