Release DetailsLABEL Karmageddon Media
RELEASED ON 5/31/2004
First Battle Won
posted on 6/2004 By:
What happens when you cross Bolt Thrower, Amon Amarth and Dissection? Stormrider, that’s what happens. And while certainly not the most original death metal band around, their delivery is gargantuan, the production is painful, and the song writing solid enough to warrant attention. A harsh Swedish outfit clad in ridiculous length spiked wristbands, Stormrider is pure old school with an air of Stockholm based death metal, but dipped in a venous concoction of black metal and Viking metal.
Right of the bat, the Abyss Studio production by Tommy Tägtgren (so much for closing up $hop, eh?) is absolutely immense, almost to the point of unlistenablity, especially the drums which waylay every other instrument during the blast beats. Stormrider sound like a sonic Tsunami of noise bearing down into your ear canal, wiping away your tympanic membrane like a South Pacific straw hut. Your 200 watt home stereo will buckle and wilt, while your factory model car stereo will sound like the CD is being played through the deep fat fryer at McDonalds, but it’s all in a good way-If you know what I mean.
Musically, Stormrider don’t deliver anything new or genre pushing, just good solid European death metal; although they really need to settle on a single theme as the lyrics range from Viking anthems ("Odin’s Ride”), Six Feet Under cheese (“Killer”), and clichéd Christian hating ("God is Dead”, “Kill Yourself (In the Name of Christ)”, all rendered with pretty rudimentary lyrics. Luckily, the music itself is far more invigorating and powerful. The low end rumbles and lumbers while the menacing buzz of the guitars deliver thick riffs. When attempting a more blacker style like on “Addiction”, the sound is slightly washed out by the production, only when Stormrider pace themselves can you appreciate the utter heaviness on display. For a complete Amon Amarth comparison look no further than the opening of “Completely Dead (F.T.W), of which there is a typically bad video mpeg on the CD-ROM. Occasionally, Stormrider will lash out with a surprisingly melodic riff such as “The Other Side” or “Addiction”, but on the whole Stormrider are about old school, pummeling brutality with no questions asked. Vocally, YX has the usual low growl, but not too dissimilar to Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg, with the occasional high end scream thrown in. Like the music, it’s nothing stunningly original, but achieves its goal respectably.
In all, a mighty solid album, that often overwhelms you with its production rather than its skill and talent, but either way, First Battle Won, is a worthy debut effort that death metal fans should definitely check out.
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