13 Jan 2017

Stormbringer: "Stealer of Souls"

An 80s metal tour-de-force just a decade too late
Not to be confused with the Deep Purple album of the same name from 1974, Stormbringer brought their Americanised brand of power metal from the state of Illinois in the early 90s. With only two releases - according to Metal Archives - behind them, the band has remained in relative obscurity for years with only a very small coven of cult followers still active today.

As with most obscure gems, true information is hard to come by. The band broke up some time in the mid 90s after the release of their eponymous EP in 1994, and apart from a few leads there is little to come by. Their debut demo, however, is where the action is at. Crafted in the style of classic US power metal, their lacking success might be because they were simply late to the ball. By 1993, this style of speeding power metal had already gone out of style bar the few bands that survived the initial birth of the movement.

"...only rarely do they emerge into a more contemporary metal..."

Stealer of Souls looks back at bands like Liege Lord, Omen, Helstar and Vicious Rumors with fondness. It is clear where Stormbringer's allegiance lies, and only rarely do they emerge into a more contemporary metal sound with a little musical foresight. Songs like Vengeance and Tanelorn sound like something yanked straight from the mid eighties, but while Stealer of Souls is definitely a demo, the production job is surprisingly adept.

Presumably the demo album only ever saw a limited release on cassette when it was first released, and this tape is exceedingly hard to come by these days. But if possible, pick this up. Though a few tracks sound very inspired by other bands (such as Silence, which sounds a lot like Megadeth's Holy Wars), their speed limit-breaking power metal is as fresh as many of the band's predecessors.

With vocals like a mix of Artillery's Flemming Rönsdorf and Judas Priest's Rob Halford, the obligatory high pitched screams accompany Stormbringer's exceptionally well-crafted hooks with fantastic vocal delivery and energetic riffs that many of the original metal heroes found hard to achieve after their first few albums.


Released in 1993 independently

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