Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stormhold - "Eyes in the Eyes" (2013)

Self – released EP (April 1st 2013)

Line – up (2003):   Alexey Gasakov – vocals;
                               Vyacheslav Gasakov – guitar;
                               Dmitriy Mikailov – guitar;
                               Alexandr Chernous – bass;
                               Andrey Marisyi – drums;
                               Evheniy Darnopykh – keyboards.

Location:               Gomel (Belarus).

Better song of the EP:

The titletrack.

Better feature of the band:

Its great dramatic feeling.

The Stormhold are one of two bands that I listened during my holidays, along with the Slovenians Armaroth. I say I’ve done a good job to bring them with me, since both the bands have good songs, playing the same genre in very different ways. Besides this, the Stormhold didn’t recorded something from 2006, when they released their first album titled “Negative Infinity”. I like so much this kind of bands that record something only when they’re truly inspired. But I hope that will not spend other 7 years to listen the next assault, so, come on guys, record a new album, please!

“Eyes in the Eyes” has 3 tracks per almost 16 consistent minutes circa of a melodic death metal with a great dramatic feeling (accentuated by some neoclassical influences, like in the titletrack) and a remarkable variety. The technique is impressive, also into the more wicked (and rare) moments, all the more so because the solos have a fundamental role in the music, since every song has 2 solos at least. But these ones are generally brief than the initial impressions. Despite this technique profusion, the various blast – beats and not so much unbridled tupa – tupas are frequent, and they are in perfect balance with the slower tempos.

As in the Italians Joyless Jokers (I reviewed their first album many months ago), the Stormhold combines the melodic element with the symphonic aspect, that is a bit more important for these guys than my aforementioned compatriots. In fact, the keyboards helps frequently the other instruments to inject more profoundness into the music creating sometimes very evocative and tasteful melodies, also if they aren’t everywhere and don’t shoot real solos.

Instead, the vocal sector is characterized principally by an almost hoarse growl (that is a bit lower than the usual in some moments, like in “The History Pages”, but don’t expect “ignorant” stuff, as it is obvious) plus some rare screams. In addition, there are even good clean vocals in “Another Day”, making the music in a more dramatic way.

The songs’ structure is a little curious for some reasons. I can go so far to say that every song is divided between 3 well – distinct parts: the first one is a introduction where the band shoots its fury and wickedness (in this way, listen the devastating intro of the titletrack); the second more melodic part is characterized always by the typical stanza/chorus’ sequence with two passages; in the last one, the band explodes its potentialities, respecting at times some musical sequences. In addition, there is an instrumental and collective fugue (hence, no virtuosity of any kind) in every track, that is useful to start very intense climaxes (like in the mid – tempo song “The History Pages”). But the structural methodology adopted by the Stormhold leaves some doubts that aren’t necessarily dangerous for the same music. For example:

1)      it’s a shame that the omnipresent melodic approach isn’t balanced with the more wicked moments, that are interned generally into the introductions (except “The History Pages”);

2)      some instrumental fugues aren’t sufficiently developed, and this is a more important problem than the aforementioned one (listen “Another Day”, the only not exactly unconciving track of the EP).

However, the Stormhold are able to compensate these flaws through a generally perfect songs’ structure, that is accentuated not only by the interaction between the guitars but also by the keyboards, hence I would like to listen these ones in a more predominant way for the future assaults to come. Besides this, I like so much the production of the EP, that is clean and perfectly balanced between the various instruments, bass included (finally!).

Vote: 77

Flavio “Claustrofobia” Adducci


1 – Another Day/ 2 – Eyes in the Eyes/ 3 – The History Pages