StormzoneIt’s been at least 5 years since I’ve picked up a Stormzone release, in that time the band have continued to release material and if ‘Seven Sins’ anything to go by, I’ve been missing out big style. This is a concept album, and before you go all complacent, it doesn’t flow like a traditional concept album, or have the overtly technical guitar solos every couple of seconds, it’s a lot more mature and cohesive than that often followed concept fable. The subject matter is as suggested by the title, telling tales of human obsession and tendency to sin.

The release begins with ‘Bathsheba’ which is a metal/aor hybrid, the vocals are really powerful as are the melodies, then we come to ‘Another Rainy Night’. This has an immense melody, infectious, catchy and has me thinking that I’ve heard this somewhere else before, simply because I’m into the melody straight away, a mark of a great song. ‘The One that Got Away’ and ‘Seven Sins’ hit a touch harder and bring more in your face metal to the forefront changing up the guitar rhythms, whilst skilfully maintaining a balance of soulful harmonies. But it’s when you get to ‘You’re Not the Same’ the game changes and steps up a gear. The flow and feeling makes me think of Gamma Ray with a strong guitar stance backing up the now expected vocal and arrangement talents, that’s further enhanced by an excellent production and mix that boosts the combination of instruments in a positive light. ‘Special Brew’ is also another track that really sets the men from the boys

Stormzone have had a lot of success over the years, with Neil Kay (legendary DJ) producing an earlier release ‘Death Dealer’ (the last one I bought) and with numerous appearances at festivals like Firefest (R.I.P.), Wacken, Bloodstock and Sonisphere and main support to bands like Y&T, Tyketto, Saxon and Stryper. Based on the quality of the material and the amazing vocal talents of John ‘Harv’ Harbinson, this is a major contender of the most enjoyable album of the year in this sub-genre. Everything screams metal, the image, the artwork, the band logo, the best part though is the fine quality of the music itself, the most important part.

(9/10 Paul Maddison)