Stormborn – Zenith (Rockshots Records)

Wednesday, 24th April 2024
Rating: 8 / 10

Well-documented during the 70s and 80s as a vital component of the burgeoning heavy metal scene, the UK market once again seems to be sprouting a great mix of traditional, melodic offerings from this genre of newcomers such as Seven Sisters, Tailgunner, and the current band under the microscope in Stormborn. Over the years they’ve gained opportunities to play the Summer Breeze Festival, support Rhapsody of Fire locally, and gig up and down the UK cutting their teeth while sharpening those songwriting skills. Zenith is the second album from the quintet, a testament to the group’s fierce authenticity to classic, melodic heavy metal – drawing inspiration from Dio, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden while putting their own personal creative twist into the proceedings.

Thunder claps set off the instrumental “Call of the Void” that opens the record, the softer strains soon giving chase to the electric, amped up shredding neoclassical guitar runs and crunchy riffs, drummer Andrew Felton throwing in some speedy double kick/ main groove parts against the synchronized arpeggio harmonies from the duo of Laurence Armitage and David Viner. From there “Land of the Servant King” roars into your ears, vocalist Christopher Simmons elevating his melodies in a multi-octave power, his calling channels the best of Rob Halford and Bruce Dickinson through his scooping of the notes, especially in those higher falsetto / scream areas. The atmosphere bounces between that neoclassical meets traditional terrain – where the musicians sprinkle tasty progressive interplay aspects against proper earworm hooks and catchy vocals mandating audience fervor. Favorites change daily – the Riot meets Iron Maiden-esque heroic angles for “Dawn Will Come Again” hit hard, as well as the classic Judas Priest / Dio-oriented epic ballad “Echo” that splits between this tranquil, gut-wrenching softness before the twin guitar action rises from the shadows while Christopher adds those sinister screams for dynamic contrast in all the right places.

Artist Ryan T. Hancock (Seven Sisters, Blood Star, Terminalist) paints a futuristic cover full of those subtle details followers of this genre appreciate. In the end, Stormborn could be another surprise gem coming out of the 2024 crop of releases, as Zenith contains plenty of fuel for those who enjoy melodic heavy metal with neoclassical/harmony-oriented passages, with the integrity of those aforementioned artists inspiring these gentlemen.

Stormborn official website

Stormborn on Facebook

[fbcomments width="580"]