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Stormhammer: Seven Seals
Stormhammer - Seven Seals Music Review

Stormhammer: Seven Seals

Modern Heavy/Power Metal

Once more Germany's Stormhammer is a band in search of musical meaning. It's more or less a schizophrenic search, perhaps a bipolar search. Are we a traditional heavy power metal band? Should we have death vocals? Maybe we need to update or change our sound? It probably doesn't help that they've changed vocalists once again. This time it's Matthias Kupka (Emergency Gates, Still It Cries) who also handles songwriting, session guitar, and production.

Stormhammer - Click For Larger Image


With his presence, Kupka has created a musical conundrum for Stormhammer by simultaneously upgrading, downgrading, and sometimes reverting to past ways in their sound. Clearly, with one spin, you'll determine that Stormhammer plays to their power metal beginnings. You'll hear this with Sleepwalker, Prevail, One More Way, and most definitely with the bullet train, Your Nemesis. But the latter song is also an example of Stormhammer's progression into more modern (power) metal, where Kupka offers dirty vocals at the start. Stormhammer using death vocals is not necessarily new, but the persistent use of them is. You'll find them all over this album: Downfall, One More Way, Sleepwalker, Prevail, among others. The death vocals are used in the traditional (yeah, I said that) modern way, in tandem with clean melodic vocals. The thing is Kupka is pretty good at. Conversely, Stormhammer making a paradigm-like shift in their sound in this way is merely capitulation to modern trends. The question for the band and their fans is simply, Has Stormhammer sold their musical soul for commercial viability and their ongoing professional sustainability? Let the debate begin.

For me, and passing over much of the modern gimmicks, I did like the music, well, at least with one song. Taken By Ballad, more a heavy metal rock anthem, had this real bluesy feel to it. With this song, Stormhammer was definitely drifting from their wheelhouse. Needless to say, some fans may have their own schizophrenic reaction to Stormhammer's latest album, Seven Seals.

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The Bottom Line

Seven Seals finds Stormhammer experiencing some musical schizophrenia, and some fans may have their own schizophrenic reaction to Stormhammer's latest album.

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