Stormwarrior - Heading Northe
Melodic Speed / True Metal
10 songs (45'16)
Release year: 2008
Stormwarrior, Dockyard 1
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the Year V2

German metallers Stormwarrior are back with their third and best album to date. I've liked everything I heard from these guys so far, but this album is a new milestone in their career. It is a known fact that the third album is always a critical moment for a band, it shows whether the band is evolving, standing still or going backwards. In the case of Stormwarrior, it can be best described as a leap forward at warp speed (literally) !

After an intro track, the album kicks into high gear with a killer speed metal tune, and also the title track : Heading Northe ! Now many bands out there should take notice of this approach, the right-in-your-face-killer introduction to an album ! Its not yet a minute into the song that already I know I'm gonna be in for a ride, and what a ride ! The song is powerful, fast, with razorblade riffs, highly melodic vocal lines and awesome guitars. The second song is no slouch either, a great epic song called Metal Legacy, and with this title its no surprise that the song sounds somewhat like a metal hymn. Again, awesome guitars and melodies flying all over the place at a rather slower pace than the opener, but still a fast song nonetheless. The solo, like every solo on this album, is very fast, majestic and full of life. The drums, almost military in nature and always earth pounding, are also a very strong element of Stormwarrior's music. Now about the vocals, I believe its the part of the sound of the band that as the more evolved since the last album. Very reminiscent of Kai Hansen's vocals if you ask me. The only point where I could say that the band needs to evolve a bit more would be the originality. Don't get me wrong, the album is awesome from start to finish, but it sounds like many parts have been heard of before, and the Gamma Ray inspiration runs deep within Stormwarrior's veins. Its not a bad thing per say, but the band sounds like they could develop more personality, and I wouldn't be surprised if some people find it a bit too copycat. Myself I don't mind that much, when a band can deliver such an amazing piece of music, with so much panache, majesty and aggression at light speed, I can easily forget that it sounds a bit like things we've heard before. As a matter of fact, I think this album blows away the last 2 Gamma Ray albums to kingdom come (and is better than anything since Land and The Free and Powerplant), and no offense to Kai, but he borrowed so many things in his last offering (Maiden, Accept,...etc) that I in fact find this album more refreshing (and inspired) than the so-called Land Of The Free 2. This album reminds me of the first Land of The Free album ! So if you were disappointed with The Land of The Free 2, fear not, this album is actually a much better match to the title than Gamma Ray's own offering. I'm sure all Kai's fan boys will want to rip me in two while reading that statement, but I couldn't care less :). I could describe every song in this album, but it would result in a very long review, and I'm trying to cut down on the length of my reviews lately, I realize I tend to go too deep into them lately. Sufficient to say that if majestic speed metal is your drug, then you'll get one hell of a fix with this album ! Every song on this album is killer, and the album has so much power, melodies and pure aggression that it will feel like a musical tidal wave splashing your mind to pieces. Its difficult to choose favorites in this album, since the level of each and every track is so high ! Still if I should try, I would say Heading Northe, The Holy Cross, Iron Gods, Ragnarok, Remember the Oath and Lions of the Northe !

One Intro and one Outro, and in the middle 10 mind-blowing killer faster than you can assimilate majestic and melodic songs. In one sentence, that describes exactly what the essence of Heading Northe is. A pure GEM of Speed Metal like I haven't heard in years. This album is to become a classic for the band, and has put the bar so high in terms of quality (awesome production too ! but how could it be otherwise when the mixing is done by Piet Sielck and the final mastering by Tommy Hansen) for Stormwarrior, and while I'm looking forward to listen to the bands next album, I know already it will be VERY hard to top this album. If this album didn't remind me so much of Gamma Ray I would probably have quoted it even higher (98-99). But originality aside, this is simply of the best albums I've heard in years in the speed metal category, PERIOD ! Hall hail Stormwarrior !

Killing Songs :
The entire album is out of this world, fast, furiously melodic and with a true metal attitude !
Chris quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Stormwarrior that we have reviewed:
Stormwarrior - Norsemen reviewed by Ben and quoted 71 / 100
Stormwarrior - Heathen Warrior reviewed by Thomas and quoted 68 / 100
Stormwarrior - Northern Rage reviewed by Ben and quoted 86 / 100
Stormwarrior - Heavy Metal Fire EP reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Stormwarrior - Stormwarrior reviewed by Marty and quoted 88 / 100
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