Stormzone - 'Zero To Rage' (SPV) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Mark Ashby   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 05:00

52227_stormzone_zero_to_rageLet's get this clear from the very beginning: Stormzone are old school. This Belfast quintet plays heavy metal, pure and simple. No bullshit, no pretensions, no shenanigans. Just straightforward, hard hitting rock, played for the enjoyment of it. In other words, the way it should be.


Right from the off, the band prove that they are exactly 'Where We Belong', an epic opener building from the sort of orchestral intro that would do Manowar proud into a good old fashioned classic, twin guitar attack chest-beating, fist-pumping metal anthem. Harv's vocals soar like an eagle, swooping between the riffs created by Keith Harris and Steve Moore, with everything backed up by the powerhouse rhythm section of Graham McNulty and drummer Davy Bates (a man whose name is uttered in hush reverence in certain circles, as he was the sticksman in another Belfast outfit, the often overlooked NWOBHM innovators Sweet Savage, with whom he released the song 'Killing Time' - one of the tunes credited by Metallica as setting them along the path along which they have never looked back).


What follow are 11 more stunning tracks of pure, unadulterated metallic masterpieces: the title track is majestic, while 'The Jester's Laughter' comes across as a superior blend of Accept and Queensryche, and the likes of 'This Is Our Victory', 'Hail The Brave', the breakneck 'Uprising' and 'Last Man Standing' are all rallying calls to the metal masses which should be heeded and answered with a 'fuck yeah'.


Among the other undoubted highlights are 'Fear Hotel', with its driving, pumping bass line and dirty guitar riff, and the Dio-esque 'Voices Inside My Head', while closer 'Cuchulainn's Story' is as powerful and impressive as its subject matter deserves.


It must be admitted that there is a very 'retro' feel to 'Zero...', and there are many musical references to back this up: the band have been compared, favourably, to the likes of Iron Maiden and Helloween, and vocalist Harv has been likened to the mighty Biff Byford. None of these are bad points, but serve merely to emphasize exactly where Stormzone are coming from and what they are doing, which is five blokes playing damn fine heavy metal. This is one storm from which you should not take shelter, but enter into the eye of... unless you're some sort of wimp: well, are you?