|1.||Shine of Ivory Horns|
|2.||Reign of the Winged Duke|
|3.||The March Onto Golden Lands|
|4.||Age of Steel & Blood|
|5.||Culling of the Blood Moon|
|6.||Blood of the Old Wolf|
|7.||Journey to the Unknown|
|8.||Under the Burning Eclipse|
|10.||Of Hollowed Souls & Distant Flame|
|11.||An Empire of Ash & Dust|
|12.||At the Cliffs of Azure City|
|13.||Illuminating the Ancient Sky|
|14.||Dawn of the Eternal Fire|
|15.||A Message from a Foreign King|
|16.||Mark of the Valkyrie|
|18.||Fear the Old Blood|
|19.||Fields of Mortal Shame|
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1 Review for 'Stormruler - Under the Burning Eclipse'
Balance Between being Old School and being Unique and Experimental.
I encountered this album on YouTube and immediately assumed that this was a Swedish band. When I checked out their Metal-Archives page I was a bit shocked to find out that this is actually a band hailing from the land of the free!
I think this shows the diversity and variety of the current USBM scene in general. Gone are the days of Darkthrone plagiarism that was so common in the 90s USBM scene! This band is one of the bands which tries to expand the boundaries by keeping the balance between having a unique and experimental approach, and an old school approach (without crossing too much into either territory!).
This is their only release so far, and is a case of hitting the bull's eye on first attempt! The Thrash/Death Metal background of the band members is easily visible at some points, but their diverse songwriting manages to allude to making a Blackened Death/Thrash mash-up completely!
The riffs here are very much inspired by Swedish Melodic Black Metal acts such as Dissection. This is probably the most traditionalist move on this album, but other than this, it gets unique. The vocals have a bit of 90s Norwegian Black Metal sense to them, but they are much more high-pitched compared with any of the Norwegian stereotypes.
Also, the riffs have a bit of old school Epic Heavy/Power Metal vibe going on in some songs, which are more closer to Swedish Epic Metal Bands such as Heavy Load, rather than the more usual names like Manilla Road. Some of the songs actually take this Epic/Power/Fantasy Metal idea one step further, and create a Middle Eastern feeling (check out the 8th track, "Under the Burning Eclipse", to see what I mean!). Though, don't think that every song is Manowar worship. There is some Old School Norwegian type of mid-paced tremolo picking going on too (most notably, on the 16th track, "Mark of the Valkyrie", which is definitely a Mayhem worship track!). The drumming and bass playing are pretty decent, and thanks to a superb and crisp production, you can every thing very clearly.
Now to the most unique and experimental part about the album, the Songwriting. This is easily identifiable by just looking at the number of tracks. If you take the interlude and prelude songs out of the equation, you would end up with just 9 tracks. The remaining tracks are ambient or chant-type interludes, and little tracks that make this album a listening experience rather than just an album. The keyboards in ambient parts don't work like the keyboards on Symphonic Black Metal acts, but rather like the minimalist in-between tracks on albums like "Det Som Engang Var" by Burzum. This fact gives the album an epic, dramatic and theatrical sense, which is one of its major strengths.
Highlights? Well, since the tracks are connected together as a whole experience rather than single entities, I think it's not relevant to pick any tracks, but the title track's riff is the most memorable part for me (easily!).
Overall, this is a very unique way of playing Melodic Black Metal (in fact, I haven't encountered any similar outputs with the same songwriting style). Although, this diverse songwriting, with moments that are atmospheric and cold, or other moments that are very melodic, needs more organizing, as it shows some disjointed moments here and there. Also, one thing that will definitely put off some fans is the album length, which is understandable. But you have to listen to this album in a different manner. You should accept this as an hour long track without even hesitating to check the timeline or the title of the track! One of the best albums of 2021 so far!
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