Stormbringer is a band with arena rock aspirations, mixed with a gritty dive bar appeal. While the production sounds striking, there’s nothing too musically diverse about this debut that could elevate them to iconic metal insanity.  The record begins with a Sabbath ordeal of heavy guitar bites and distortion; the title track a mere uneventful intro as a repeating chord rings out over a two-minute interlude.  A subdued Dream Theater apparition then appears on ‘Gazing at The Grave,’ as listeners catch a glimpse of vocalist Mike Stockley’s polished pipes.  The thud of a surreal Velvet Revolver surges in with vocals that fire off like a fractious Scott Weiland, befire ‘Mark Antony’ brings the band deeper into the VR masquerade, adding shades of more demonic glory.  ‘Save Me’ sounds like dirty Motley Crue strip club music, as ‘Destroy’ plays like a metal battle cry “ballad.”  Halfway through and the record presents a clear landscape for how the rest of the songs will sound – little variation and musical recurrence their most evil demon.  But ‘Grinder’ is as rugged as the title might suggest, the vocals this time carrying nothing impressively different to the hard rock ‘n’ roll music table.  It’s seemingly all about the Stockley range and although occassionally impressive, its sadly undermined by mundane musicianship that pales away from the albums first half.  While Stormbringer sustain fragile life dwelling in a Heavy Metal planet, their thirst for musical immortality remains part of the ongoing universal confrontation. (5)




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