Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Storyteller - Sacred Fire

It's hard to believe that it's been almost 15 years since I discovered The Storyteller, a great metal band from Sweden that played heavy metal the right way! I instantly fell in love with their first album and followed their career for a bit before they kind of fell off the radar after 2005s Underworld, which seemed like the apex of their career. They returned in 2013 but, for whatever reason, that album completely blew by me. Imagine my surprise when I see that they released their sixth full length, Sacred Fire, last month. And what a release it is. When most of the European heavy/power metal bands are experimenting with their sound...and sucking at it, these guys delivered!

When they first arrived on the scene, some of their detractors were saying that they were nothing but HammerFall clones. My thoughts were, "What's so wrong with that?" Up until that time, HammerFall were one of the leading bands putting out speedy riff laden heavy metal. The difference is that the hammer fell hard and The Storyteller still has a few more stories to tell. This album comes out of the shoot strong with the riff heavy "As I Die." The lyrics are cheesy as fuck stories about dying in battles, Northmen, etc. and man do I love that shit! But it's the riffs and the hooks that pull you in here. And those gang "whooooaaaaa" backing vocals in the chorus are metal as fuck. The solos are just incredible and L.G. Persson's vocal delivery sounds better than ever. Then you have the galloping tempo, dual leads and catchy riffs of the title track. The verse has a nice melodic clean part in it adding to the old metal feel. Once again, the solo here is just awesome and the guitar tone is just perfect. The chorus is catchy and the gang backing vocals are just beauty to this old metalhead's ears.

"Serpent Eyes" just fucking slays with it's speed and overall guitar work. The chorus has wonderful melodies and just pulls you in. These songs are so well written and that it's just so refreshing. Once again, these guys are living up to their name because each song seems to tell a story. But nothing can compare to the epic "Sons of the North." This song just reeks epic metal. Going from slower to mid paced in places this song is the perfect metal song. All the elements that make this the perfect song are here. The chorus is slow, epic with choir backing vocals and a feeling that you are going into battle. This song gives me the chills. The speed picks up with the dual leads in the middle all culminating into a solo that is just amazing. This is the best song on the album let alone one of the best metal songs I've heard in a while. Then you have another galloping metal anthem, "Curse of the Seven Seas." this is another stand out track just because of the riffs and melodies and, once again, those gang vocal "whoooooaaaas" coming in at the beginning of the chorus and after the solo. I don't know about you but I fucking love that shit.

There are a couple of moments on this album that are weaker than others. "In Search for Treasures, Stones and Gold" comes after "Sons of the North" and, maybe because it does follow such an epic, it just doesn't stand out to me. Not that it's a bad song but after such an epic you need something to stand out. Maybe they could have something that stands out more after that epic like "Let Your Spirit Fly," which is a speedy number with all the aforementioned metal as fuck elements. Then you have "Coming Home," which is your obligatory metal ballad and even though it's not horrible as some of the more recent metal ballads have been, it just didn't seem necessary on an album like this. "God of War" rounds it out and does so in the best way you could possibly end and album like this. Speedy and melodic this is another song that is a stand out that just screams "metal" when you hear it.

This album slays, there is no other way to put it. This is the definition of heavy metal. Maybe this can put this band at the forefront of metal, where they have always belonged. No experimenting with more progressive or modern sounds, this is how metal is done...period!


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