"Heathen Warrior"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Tis been a good while since I've marched to battle with lusty pagan power metal like Stormwarrior as accompaniment. Most of the Viking/battle/medieval music I've heard in 2011 has either been too black or too wimpy to really satisfy my warlust, but Germany's Stormwarrior has struck the bullseye with the ballsy, speedy "Heathen Warrior".

Tis good sturdy steel, the music of this as a flashing blade, but catchy and tuneful like all good power metal should be. There are cliches aplenty throughout "Heathen Warrior", but delivered with straight-faced power and conviction, which gives them the weight they deserve. I am often reminded of the fellow Germans Running Wild on hook-filled and speedy tunes like "Bloode to Bloode" and "Fyre and Ice"...tell me you don't hear a bit of the Jolly Roger in the latter tune...and that's not a bad thing at all in my book. The lead vocals have a very nasal tone, a bit like Sacred Steel's Gerrit Muntz but not quite as "Smurfy", which might take some getting used to, but which actually help to separate Stormwarrior from roughly similar bands like Hammerfall and Mystic Prophecy. Each song has its own identity and some like "Wolven Nights" and "The Valkyries Call" are full of epic pagan bluster, with choruses that make you feel like drinking mead and then bashing someone's skull with the tankard. Best chorus, though, goes to "The Returne"...try to get that heathen ode out of your head.

By the bristling beard of Odin One-Eye, "Heathen Warrior" satisfies the inner metal viking within all of us, typical though it may be, and I give Stormwarrior a hearty salute!