Stormzone – Seven Sins (Metal Nation Records)Tuesday, 21st July 2015
Here’s an example of quality fan engagement: Irish power metal troupe Stormzone are offering fans the opportunity to access four exclusive bonus tracks if they enter a code found within the CD booklet of Seven Sins. Fingers crossed the tracks don’t end up on YouTube. More than that, it’s an example of how creative bands need to be in order to sell some physical product. It’s no longer enough to simply throw out an album with lyrics and credits; bands need to go the extra mile, especially if you’re in the spot Stormzone is in…
Their Northern Ireland locale would surely be a head-scratcher for those who first catch a whiff of their brand of melodic power metal. Down the line, the band very carefully adheres to many of the norms that European power metal has been trotting out for nearly three decades: Well-sung, melodic vocals, sing-song-y chorus, the occasional brush with frenzied double-bass, and above all else, songs that keep the “song” in mind. So upon further inspection, a handful of these cuts take on even a slight pop-feel, like “You’re Not the Same,” which is a Helloween song Helloween never wrote. Or, “Another Rainy Night,” a song not to be confused with the Queensryche song bearing the same name. Here, vocalist John Harbison puts on his best Don Dokken cap, with surprisingly strong results.
Unable to crack the all-important Euro festival tour circuit, Stormzone’s appeal with said crowd couldn’t be more apparent on Seven Sins. Not as call-to-arms power metal as it could be, Seven Sins, instead, relishes in the lost art of taut, focused songwriting, just without the spills and thrills that normally accompany power metal circa 2015. How that will fare across mainland Europe is yet to be determined, but to these ears (and surely many others), Stormzone should stick with it and let it ride.