STORMLORD – Hesperia
22 years in the industry and this is my first experience with the Italian symphonic black/ power oriented metal act known as Stormlord. Better late than never I always say, and with their fifth full length album "Hesperia" I take in any interesting cocktail of sounds from the sextet. Often setting up tracks with extraneous cinematic qualities (bird sounds, orchestral maneuvers, horror elements) – the guitars glide along with this air of deep majestic grace, while the vocals ebb and flow between narrative clean parts and extreme black metal screams.
"Motherland" has this exotic main riff that builds with a gothic/ power charge, almost as if Amorphis and Therion were meeting headlong into this semi-djent oriented shifting tempo- one of the main reasons why Stormlord pin my ears and make me delve deeper into what makes them tick. "Bearer of Hate" contains a strong keyboard foundation as the guitar parts slowly creep into the landscape – vocalist Cristiano Borchi matching the intensity of the semi-fast riffs with this quick hitting extreme word barrage, and I also enjoy the cleaner instrumental break with a jangly alternative/folk nature that gives the song such an incessant back beat.
"Onward to Roma" once again grabs you with this immediacy between the militant drum march that sits comfortable against the hypnotic guitar drone, setting the tone for the exciting double bass driven black metal transition- drummer David Folchitto adept at switching from a steady power stance to a high octane extreme percussion style right at the drop off a riff change. By the time the 9:38 "Those upon the Pyre" washes away from the speakers, it’s not difficult to hear why Stormlord have impressed many in the scene with their sound.
Look back at this discography, as "Hesperia" is a gem for 2013- inspirational, moving, harsh and beautiful all the same.