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Album Reviews : Stälker – Shadow Of The Sword

By on January 4, 2018

Throughout my years of supporting metal, there has been a good few trends that have been progressing through the metal scene. The massive growth of black metal, especially due to the fact that with enough skills (or lack thereof), it literally can be recorded in one’s bedroom. The continuing rise of Thrash metal with its progressively solid album count each year. The list goes on.

A movement that I thoroughly enjoy that is not talked about nearly enough is the resurgence of speed metal. For those not in the know, speed metal is basically a mix of traditional and thrash metal. This movement is heavily established in Europe, with bands such as Ranger from Finland, plus Stallion and Vulture, both based in Germany, who all support this continually growing metal genre. There is a lot of quality going around in this genre of music, so I suggest anybody who is interested to check it out.

Stälker is primarily based in New Zealand, and have done well for themselves getting onto the well known Austrian label, Napalm Records. A popular label with bands such as Summoning, Kamelot, Hammerfall, and W.A.S.P all representing. Stälker’s debut album, Shadow of the Sword, was released in 2017. The band previously released an EP in 2016, in which all 3 tracks featured on that EP are on the debut album.

The first thing I noticed about Shadow of the Sword is that it focuses more on a thrash metal sound compared to the aforementioned bands in speed metal, who all tend to be a little more focused on the traditional metal elements, especially in the vocal department. It actually reminds me of early Anthrax, such as Among the Living, which makes this album a little more unique to its respected scene. The anthem-like choruses featured on songs such as Master of Mayhem, Path of Destruction and Shocked to Death really bring this point home. However, there is a slight change up with songs such as Evil Dead, Steel God and Demon Dawn that really bring the traditional metal sound back into a more obvious role, especially with the almost Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) vocal punch from Daif, Stälker’s vocalist.

Let it be known, this album takes little to no risks. The sound in the instrumentation is similar throughout the entire album with an overall appealing quality that does not damage my listening experience. Since I’m a big fan of Anthrax, and thrash metal, in general, I am quite liking this album.

Master of Mayhem, Path of Destruction and Shocked to Death, the songs that Stälker really seems to be pushing at the moment through their music videos and singles are some of my favorite songs on the album. For those wanting a more traditional sound, there is definitely a good mix of speed and thrash metal with the addition of Evil Dead, Steel God, and Demon Dawn. The album incorporates a great mix of speed and thrash metal elements and is definitely worth your time.

Band: Stälker
Album: Shadow of the Sword
Year: 2017
Genre: Speed/Thrash Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Origin: New Zealand