Sound — 7
Surfing YouTube for new music is an arduous process, usually skipping through songs which don't fit and that have no musical talent. However, you do find the odd gem, and last week that gem was Stormzone. "Three Kings" is the Irish metallers' 4th studio album and is packed with mighty melodic riffs, suitable solos, superb vocals all impressively held together by the drums. This is an album which you do not want to ignore. Hints of old school charm, but laden with modern influences, this album takes us back to when music was simple, straight forward and fun. It is clear that Iron maiden are their main influence as well as Judas Priest and Saxon but they also have their own memorable style. The unique vocal style of front man John "Harv" Harbinson, which whose vocal range is simply mind blowing throughout. Harbinson shows us his ability to lay down powerful deep vocals as well as taking it up a few pitch levels when necessary. Guitarists David Shields and Steve Moore provide us with retro riffage and at times heroic solos. Graham McNulty hold the bass fort with style, especially in the slower songs in which he takes a lead and drummer Davy Bates complete the set of a well constructed, organised metal band.
Lyrics — 7
John "Harv" Harbinson has a fantastic vocal range and control. Songs like "Three Kings," "Night of the Storm" and "Spectre" show his ability and they rhythm of the vocals have staying power. Similarities in vocal style might include Axl Rose and Ralph Saenz from Steel Panther. Bassist, Graham McNulty supplies with subtle backing vocals. The vocals and guitar often mix well, evident track 3 "Stoneheart" amongst others. The lyrical content is what you would except from an '80s metal band and the only exception in track 12 "Bang Your Head" which is the more anthemic track. A quote from Harbinson about the lyrics of "B.Y.H.": "The verses are about our feelings as a band just before we are about to launch ourselves into a concert performance - the anticipation, adrenalin, fear even of knowing that once the lights go up the music has to have the desired effect of getting heads banging and fists in the air. The chorus deals with sticking to our guns and playing the music we love to the most loyal and dedicated music fans in existence, and not bowing down to fashions and bandwagons knowing that we may not become hugely successful, but we'll die trying, and playing the music we love!"
Overall Impression — 7
Things are pretty great on the first half of the album, with songs like "Spectre," "Heart of Stone" and title track "Three Kings" all have energetic playing and are heavy metal classics. There is definitely an '80s glam flavour to songs like "Night of the Storm" and "Alive." Track 12 titled "Bang Your Head" is more of an anthemic track which isn't to everyone's taste. The later part of the album seems to wear the listener down and you get the feeling that they have committed the cardinal sin and they should have left some of the tracks off the album, specifically track 9 "I Am the One." Overall this is a mighty metal album packed with retro punch. They create songs which would remind anyone of the '80s and they prove that this genre is not in ancient rot, but is very much alive. It is worth checking out with an open mind if you're a fan of metal.