March 15, 2007

CD Review: Violent Storm - Storm Warning

Every so often an album comes along that makes you want to stand up, pump your fist, and bang your head like it's 1989. Violent Storm's Storm Warning is one of those albums, but before you start thinking that it is some sort of retro-throwback to a bygone era and irrelevant to the current music scene, think again. It is true that it has some big names from the era involved in its production, but like any musician worth his palying ability they can use their influences and their own origins to forge ahead in crafting music that isn't living in the past. Storm Warning evokes memories of those past years of heavy and power metal, yet fits right in with te sound of today. It may not play well to the Slipknot crowd, but you metal fans know who you are, and you owe it to yourself to give this a listen.

The band is the brainchild of Mick Cervino, former bass player for G3, Yngwie Malmsteen and Ritchie Blackmore. He has brought together a group of musicians to hammer out some great fist pumping metal tunes to crank up on your stereo. Helping out on this journey are KK Downing, yes that KK Downing, one half of the legendary Judas Priest duo, who produced the album and appears on two songs, Roy Z, longtime partner to Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson who mixed and engineered the album in addition to appearing on a pair of tracks, finally there is Yngwie Malmsteen who solos on two tracks with his unmistakable style. Yes, there is a high amount of talent involved in the making of this album, so now the question is whether or not it lives up to it.

The answer is a simple "yes." This album hits hard and doesn't let up. It is an album centered on the stringed instruments, featuring some frenetic fretwork from both guitar and bass, in addition to a trunkload of chunky riffs. Not to be left back, there is some good singing, and a few songs with decent drumwork. While the drumming is decent, it is the weakest part of the album, which I believe relies on a drum machine for most of the work, as there are only three songs with a credited drummer, Mike Sorentino. Vocal duties are ably handled by Matt Reardon, who may not have an extensive range, but delivers plenty of intensity and is perfectly suited to the accompanying shredding. Bass and Guitars are handled by Mick Cervino, in addition to the previously mentioned guests, a duial job that he handles well, delivering the goods regardless the number of strings.

Storm Warning gets off to a great start with "War No More," opening with some speedy bass and guitar runs before settling into a straight up metal rocker. The double bass encourages the head banging, while the chorus invites sing alongs. It is an infectious start, and features the first appearance of KK Downing on lead guitar. That is followed by the excellent track "Fire in the Unknon." It is another straight up metal track with the unmistakable presence of Yngwie Malmsteen, delivering a face melter of a solo. OK, it started off two for two, want to try for three?

Track three slows the pace slightly into a metallic gallop that invites even more singing along while you pump your fist. The remaining tracks settle into a great collection of metal tracks that evoke memories of Maiden past while remaining firmly entrenched in the present.

Bottomline. I have to admit that this one caught me off guard, but considering some of those names involved, I needn't have worried. If you like metal, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. It may barely crack the half hour mark in length, but it definitely makes efficient use of its time, there is nary a clunker in the bunch.



Post a Comment