Nima : And yet the Swedish heavy metal brigade has managed to pull it off again! The band around Street Talk members, guitarist Tomas Olsson and keyboarder Fredrik Bergh, made a strong start with ‘Nosferatu’ and ‘Book Of The Dead’, took a more progressive turn on ‘Tabula Rasa’, to return more to the traditional roots on 'Unholy Cross’, drew that line further on ‘In The Name Of Metal’ and delivered their strongest effort thus far with it. Two years later the band comes with the sixth LP, ‘Stormborn’, which will arrive at the end of this month.
To be honest I didn’t expect the band to match the predecessor, let alone outdo it. But, goddammit, what a fantastic ruler ‘Stormborn’ has become. This is 45 minutes of pure top-shelf heavy metal that will grab you by the throat from start to finish, force your neck muscles to work constantly, and leave you hungry for more afterwards. This is one of those records that make all your heavy metal dreams come true. An album on which aggression, speed, melody, power and bombast go hand in hand, and is highly addictive.
As soon as the men take off incredibly strong with ‘Satanic Panic right after the intro, the album already can’t fail in my eyes. This song immediately has everything one can expect from heavy metal: fast riffing, thundering drums and powerful high-pitched vocals, catchy vocal lines and sing-along choruses. This track is obviously and heavily influenced by ‘Painkiller’ era Judas Priest, and vocalist Patrik "Pata" Johansson deserves extra mentioning here. The man had already proved his abilities on the previous two records, but the high-pitched voice he delivers here is simply sublime. It is also clear that this guy is one of the best vocalists in the genre at the moment. Those Pirest influences keep coming around throughout the entire record, though without any plagiarising or cloning the British legend.
Fortunately Bloodbound is one of those bands that keep true to their original sound, but have also never released the same record twice. ‘Stormborn’ is no exception to that rule and although the band is still utterly Bloodbound and the record fits well to the previous works, it also shows a different side of the band. The keys play an even more important role here for example, due to which the album sounds more bombastic than we’re used to from Bloodbound in general. Often the band reminds of the atmosphere of bands such as Nightwish, Sabaton, and even Sonata Arctica and HIM, but unlike these bands Bloodbound doesn’t make it sound boring. No! These gentlemen combine that with typical traditional heavy and power metal, and deliver a breathtaking experience in a way only they can. Listen alone to the children’s choir in ‘Nightmares From The Grave’, and you’ll know what I mean. Forutantely also on this record they don’t let the melodies to go at the cost of the power, and the total picture is again utterly metal.
Altogether ‘Stormborn’ is heavy and power metal the way it should be, and the band has delivered one its strongest efforts to date, and one of the strongest releases of 2014 in this genre. Shortly put: a must-have for the fans of the genre.