Formed in mid 2011 by guitarists and long term friends Ashley Smith (Nekkrosis) and Dominic Wallace (Deadeye/Viking Skull), Stormbringer was born out of a need for the duo to find a new musical outlet after coming away from their respective previous long term projects. Another long term friend, John Paul Quantrill (The Calling), joined on drums, followed by Darren McCullagh (Zoot Allures) on bass. After writing a full album worth of new music and adding the classic rock vocal talents of Michael Stockley (Narkan) they decided to take their new tunes out for proof testing on the road. This has paid off immensely, with their must-see live show growing their reputation by the bucket load.
As soon as you press play you are faced with the strong but short lived instrumental title track “MMXIII” which quickly bursts into the tempo raising “Gazing At The Grave” and you know for the next 40 minutes or so this music just isn’t going to give your senses a break.
Perched half way through the track listing, it’s easy to see why Grinder is to be the debut single as this is the strongest track on the album. The guitar work drives you along with Stockley’s vocals hitting the hard notes every time, but it’s the soaring vocals on the mid-tempo “Destroy” that deserve a special mention as they’re delivered with a power and conviction as good as any classic rock/metal front man from the last two or three decades. That’s not to say anything on “MMXIII” sounds dated. Rather, it seems fresh and relevant while paying homage in their own way to the people who’ve inspired and influenced their musical journey.
Other stand- out tracks are “Mark Anthony” (set to be the second single) and “Darker Days”, but especially “Welcome To Hell”. The darkness of its opening riff adds a different nuance to the overall feel of the album and is a strong closer. If the desired effect was to leaving the listener wanting more – then it worked perfectly.
This is a strong debut from seasoned musicians. The guitar work, backed up nicely by a strong but never overbearing rhythm section, drives everything along at a good speed and aside from the afore mentioned “Destroy” the tempo doesn’t really let up.
The band’s influences seem derived more from Wallace’s Viking Skull, than Smith’s Nekkrosis and in terms of style of music would sit somewhere in between Down and Black Stone Cherry, with shades of Black Sabbath thrown in to darken the mood along the way.
The debut album ‘MMXIII’ is due out on 15th July 2013 on Transcend Music and features the single ‘Grinder’.
The band have a few dates lined up in England & Wales in support of the album release and this is just the type of music to get feet stomping, heads banging and is best served live. I for one hope they touch ground on these shores in the not too distant future.
Current Upcoming Tour Dates:
23rd May – The Pit & Pendulum, Nottingham
24th May – The Square, Harlow
28th June – The Market Inn, Kettering
29th June – The Oakwood, Great Yarmouth
5th July – King Billy, Northampton
17th August – Odin’s Rock Club, Abbw Vale, South Wales
21st September – Rock Circus Festival, Stoke Prior
2. GAZING AT THE GRAVE
3. MARK ANTONY
4. SAVE ME
9. DARKER DAYS
11. WELCOME TO HELL
Mike Stockley – Vocals
Ash Smith – Guitar
Dom Wallace – Guitar
Darren McCullagh – Bass
Jon Paul Quantrill – Drums