Northamptonshire quintet Stormbringer have been around for a little over two years, but they've been working hard to grow their fan base.
Such is the extent of their increasing popularity that not only have they released this, their debut album, but they also have the privilege of being chosen as one of the bands to open up the main stage at the year's Bloodstock Open Air Festival held in Catton Park, Derbyshire.
So with all this going on, their debut album should be a corker then, shouldn't it? Well, you know what? That's exactly what it is, as it turns out!
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Clocking in at around 45 minutes this album is simply chock full of good old fashioned hard rock songs. Kicking all this off is the title track with its atmospheric thunderstorm sound effects setting the scene before the instrumental track blasts out, giving the album the best possible start whilst also, possibly, giving a nod to genre definers, Black Sabbath, in the process.
'Gazing At The Grave' gives us the first chance to hear the vocals of front man Michael Stockley and to be honest, they aren't quite what I expected. For some reason I thought the vocal sound would be much more harsh with the vocals lines being spat out, but the reality is quite the opposite, with clearly sung vocals in a classic rock style that are actually really quite good.
'Grinder' gives drummer, Jon Paul Quantrill, a chance to shine with his short drum fill at the start before the heavy guitar riff takes over. Vocalist Stockley does have a different sound here, with an effect laden vocal track – or is this another one of the band members helping out on vocal duties, I'm not too sure. Having said that, though, none of these effects detract at all from the song itself but instead gives the whole thing a slightly menacing feel - nice.
'Control' is another fairly straightforward mid-paced track with a lot of power. Stockley tests his vocal abilities to the limit whilst the short guitar solo almost gets lost in the mix – but that's just a minor quibble on an otherwise very enjoyable track.
Album closer 'Welcome To Hell' with its catchy chorus brings some more vocal effects and a great heavy main guitar riff that seems strangely familiar, but I just can't place it. Maybe it's just one of those very memorable riffs, but yet again, that song delivers on all counts.
Interestingly, the track 'Destroy'. This particular track starts off peacefully enough leading you to think it's the ubiquitous ballady, acousticy number, but those thoughts are quickly dispelled when the main riff starts. With its slower pace, though, it is a powerful song and certainly amongst some of the best work presented here. Again vocalist Stockley gives a stunning performance with his soaring vocals – again, top marks for effort.
Likewise, 'Sanity' is a good mid-paced track with some shouts in the background that could be used to good effect in a live situation to enliven the crowd before a great guitar soon kicks in to make this track a very enjoyable one. All in all though, this is a debut album that the band can be justifiably proud of and let's hope that this is the start of a great career for the band.
You can watch the official video for 'Grinder' here:
Gazing At The Grave
Welcome To Hell
Michael Stockley – Vocals
Ashley Smith – Guitar
Dominic Wallace – Guitar
Darren McCullagh – Bass
Jon Paul Quantrill – Drums
Official Website: http://bringthestorm.com/