Stormrider is a new metal band that has entered the Swedish legions of death metal. They have released 2 full-length albums, ''First Battle Won'' and ''Lucifer Rising''. Death/black is their specialty; their platform is very heavy death metal which is similar to bands like Grave, Dismember and Bloodbath. On top of that they use elements from the black metal scene such as raspy shrieks and tremolo picking patterns. The band is not a ground breaking band but their simplistic music is unusually catchy, heavy as hell and very evil and hateful. To make things slightly complicated, the band plays brutal melodic death/black metal. That would be the best description of Stormrider's music.
First Battle Won was released in 2003 and things were shining bright right from the start. Everything has been expanded to the max. Vocals are varied, the guitars are very powerful, the bass actually feeds the guitars with a solid backup sound and the drums are perfectly produced since they are not overwhelming or weak. The band’s choice of lyrics is nothing special though. Everything is concentrated towards hate, violence and anti-christ. In the tracks Into Battle and Completely Dead (F.T.W) are two examples of hate towards famous people, their greed and way of living. God Is Dead and Kill Yourself (In The Name Of Christ) are without a doubt songs about their opinions towards religion. Addiction and Odin's Ride are some examples of the bands violent nature.
There are also limited versions of this album that includes an extra track called ''Burning The Heavens'' and a bonus video to ''Completely Dead (F.T.W). Burning The Heavens is without a doubt on of the strongest songs, mostly because of its very aggressive song structure and grim atmosphere. But it doesn't separate itself so much from the other tracks since the song contains both brutality and melodies. Don't get too exited about the video, truth to be told, this video is very boring. The track is great but the video contains nothing but some stupid shots of the band members goofing around. The only moment that you could label as ''cool'' would probably be when Yx growls ''F*** The World''. The bonus track is gold while the video is more like sand.
Stormrider's debut album is definitely an album that death metal fans must have. The things that make this album to a success are mostly because of the unusually addictive and catchy songs. All songs have lots of memorable riffs and drum parts, many of the songs actually stands out thanks to a good overall variety. Completely Dead (F.T.W) is a very heavy but slow song, Addiction has a very sinister but catchy riff pattern and Odin's Ride delivers some of the most intensive moments. Everything is also very simple; there are no mind-blowing techniques that the band uses, except for the incredibly skilled guitar solos. The drumming consists of double bass rattling and intensive mid-paced patterns; blast-beats are also included to give the music an evil and dark aura so to say. Even the guitars are using simple techniques; most riffs are based around heavy chords, shredding and melodic tremolo pickings. The only glitches that the album has would be the lyrics and a couple of errors in the instrumentation, but this rarely occurs. And one more thing that is slightly unnecessary would be the Dead Love Of Mine-tracks. Part I is more like an intro to the main song (Part II). Part I is made of electro acoustics while Pt II is the final product. The bands should've moulded everything in one piece instead of two.
First Battle Won is very heavy, very addictive and very easy to like. Simplistic yet dynamic, catchy and yet brutal and evil. Some death and black metal purists will probably complain about the lack of blast-beats and tremolo riffing but many metal fans will mostly likely enjoy this. If you like bands like Bloodbath, De Lirium's Order, Dismember, Grave or other death metal veteran bands you will like Stormrider's First Battle Won.
+ Very heavy and addictive death/black metal
+ Melodic yet brutal music
+ Great variety of everything
+ Awesome sound production
+ Great vocal performance by Yx
- The bonus video
-- Into Battle (Probably the most extreme and most violent track. Most because of the lack of catchiness and melodies.
-- Addiction (The lyrics are pretty corny but the riffs are pretty sinister and crazy, addictive track.
-- Completely Dead (F.T.W) (The slowest track. It has some of the best melodies, a depressive atmosphere and hateful message.
-- Burning The Heavens (Somewhat similar as Into Battle, less melodies and more extremeness
Final Rating: A solid 4.5/5