The first thing one notices about the album Salvation, by Stormhold is the front cover. A picture of a man in a plague mask, made famous in Venice during the Black Death of the 14th century, and the scarred and bandaged remains of two people. A clear sign that this album is going toward the historical and the mythical, something that has already peaked the interest here.
Heart of a Hero is the opening track on the record, a quick, vibrant number detailing the life and exploits of Joan of Arc, it is a really cracker, a brilliant song to start an album. Black Death is next, and the heavy crunch of the guitars and the soaring vocals provide an epic point of proof for just how grim and dark the actual Black Death was. The Stranger starts with a soft acoustic melody before moving into a driving, staccato riff, and a brilliant vocal line.
Exile contains harmonised guitars, a driving rhythm section and has the hallmarks of a metal classic in the style of Iron Maiden. Path of No Return contains an acoustic lick, that brings elements of Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne to mind, whilst the spoken word over the top, adds to this feeling of ominous foreboding. God’s Crusade is next, with big guitars, a galloping rhythm, this is a song that will get people moving when played live.
Edge of The World brings harmony to the fore once more, before moving into the driving rhythm that Maiden have made famous throughout their time in the metal community, another stand out song, on an album filled with class. We March shows off the bass talent within the band, before showing off the heaviness and speed with which the band can shift through tempos and lyrical content. We’ll Never Fall begins with the title sung in harmony, before moving into the gang chant and bass led licks that stir sense of camaraderie.
A brilliant album, and one that all metal fans should pick up when it is released on 8th December. 10/10.