Once an artist begins to incorporate other elements outside of traditional metal expectations, you begin to trek in dangerous waters. The debut album from Aussie metallers, Stormtide, succeeds in where many bands have failed, bringing the masses Epic metal with an Epic story. The group cites Symphonic Death metal as their main genre but after listening to their debut album, Wrath of an Empire, I found the album branched out into other genres as well. From the Folk instruments like strings and winds to Asian inspired elements, trying to claim one genre is not really possible. I prefer the term ‘Fantasy metal’ or related. No shocker, the keyboards a one of the big players on this album. That’s not to say that the album is only meant for modern metallists as the group promises to cater to as many metalheads as possible. Effortlessly transitioning between blast beats and merciless rage to ambient passages and eloquent melodies, this album is one of the more original and unique releases I’ve heard in a while with no cliches. I especially love the sick and epic artwork, perhaps my favorite album cover of the year. Wrath of an Empire will be released August 1st.
The title track Wrath of an Empire, opens with a stellar debut. The attention and finesse that the track exhibits is stupendous. I was reminded of another band I’ve so kindly fallen in love with, Tengger Cavalry. An Oriental sounding metal band, the influence really shows. Pulling strings, literally, the track is heavily dominated also by just hard riffs and a gorge of drums beyond the norm. As Two Worlds Collide, brings in a rather different tone all-together. Transpired by Viking and Folk metal affairs, this track is unlike the previous one. A rather nice progression throughout gives each member a moment to show off their skills, overall giving this one a more Amon Amarth feel to it.
Ride To Ruin is a more anthemic track. Alligning with a more celestial atmosphere initially, the track features slight progressive elements meanwhile a groovy pace takes over later on. I felt this is one of those tracks that is played before a massive war is about to ensue, very epic in tone, majestic and almost hero-like, not to mention there is lots of opportunity for the fans to engage in, in the live setting. Was that a harp I heard? Eventually its time for us to ascend in Ascension. A more evil stature with this track, the vocals get grimier and more devious compared to the rest of the album. For you speed freaks, this is what it comes down to. Speed metal style drums and pounding blast beats. The keyboards add some moving resonation, makes you feel like you truly are ascending to another territory.
This is one of the more versatile albums I’ve listened to and from the get-go I already was looking forward to the album. It did not disappoint for the most part as the group’s claim is true, there is plenty for everyone to find on the album. Though Epic metal and Symphonic metal tend to favor clean vocals, Stormtide pulled it off with their death metal vocals. It all felt natural with no repercussions, there is something about Aussies and metal I just can’t quite pin-down. Every album I’ve reviewed from Australia never disappoints and always leaves me more than full in metal appetite. So while the epic and fantasy aspect of the album may deter some people, you will be missing out on some up and coming original and fresh talent. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Stay Metal \m/
Wrath of an Empire: 9/10
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