When I first heard “Iron Prayers” back on 2002, I was blown away by Stormwarrior’s unapologetic resemblance to Walls of Jericho era Helloween. They even went as far as to have Kai Hansen produce and guest on their debut album. I was instantly a fan. The follow up to their debut was absolute perfection and one of my all time favorite albums. The band has changed over the years but one thing that has not changed, their approach to classic speed metal. It’s been almost six years since their last release, Thunder and Steele, so the time was right for the return of Stormwarrior. With the release of their sixth full length opus, Norsemen, they are back with a vengeance. It’s amazing how this band can stay true to their form without sounding dated or stale
Keeping with Stormwarrior tradition, they begin with “To The Shores Where We Belong,” an intro that only builds you up to the burst of speed and energy you would expect from these Teutonic masters. “Norsemen (We Are)” bursts from your speakers with the fury of a marauding viking horde! A speedy epic number that sets the mood for what will be fifty minutes of head banging , horns up speed metal. Starting with speed and fury the song is classic Stormwarrior; including their signature melodic, anthemic choruses that you will find yourself signing along to by the time it rolls around for the second time. “Storms of the North” keeps it going with one of their most catchy choruses yet. The riffs are epic and the solos are godly.
“Freeborn” changed the pace a bit having that galloping tempo, crunching riffs, and melodic dual leads. Being one of the teasers released before the album, it’s just metal as fuck from beginning to end. They have this atmosphere that make any song they create sound epic. “Odin’s Fire,” “Sword Dane,” and “Blade on Blade” are classic Stormwarrior. These songs could have been on Northern Rage. “Shield Wall” starts off with some dual lead melodies over some epic keyboard effects then bursts into some great dual lead work for the intro that leads into the verse. It actually comes off as quite catchy. What this song does is prepare us for the epic masterpiece that is “Sword of Valhalla.” Clocking in at just over eleven minutes, this is an absolute beast of a song. This is everything heavy metal should be in one song; speed, epic riffs, melodic epic choruses, and godly soloing.
Once again, Stormwarrior proves to the world that staying true to your formula can pay off. This album is pure Stormwarrior from beginning to end. Their signature sound is is pure metal; nothing more, nothing less. I’ve never heard an album by this band that I did not like. Twenty-one years after their formation and seventeen years since the release of their blistering debut, Stormwarrior stands out as one of the best and most consistent bands in metal. Prove me wrong….I dare you!!