Stray Gods – Storm The Walls (Album Review)

Release Date: March 18th 2022 - Rock Of Angels Records

STRAY GODS - Storm The Walls (Album Review)

Stray Gods are a heavy metal band from Greece formed by guitarist/producer Bob Katsionis (Firewind, Serious Black), and featuring current and former members of Attick Demons, Monument, and Outloud. The band’s debut album ‘Storm The Walls, was released in 2022…

…and features eight classic-sounding heavy metal songs, as Katsionis comments “written the way the Gods Of British metal Iron Maiden taught me since 1988 when I first encountered their music”. So it should come as no surprise then, that there is a strong British, and indeed Iron Maiden flavour, to the new album – an album that gallops into life with the traditional metaller ‘The Seventh Day’. Highly reminiscent of ‘Maiden’s trademark bombastic album openers, ‘The Seventh Day’ is quickly into its stride, spreading a feel-good factor to every listener everywhere. What a blistering way to announce your new album, and also a new name to the world of metal – Stray Gods. Moving swiftly on, the band keep their “foot on the monitor” with ‘Black Horses’, a fiery and very lively gallop of traditional metal. The opening double salvo has been pure old school style, harking back to a glorious time of evolution for heavy metal – the eighties!

With no pause to take a breath, ‘Storm The Walls’ (the album) storms on with the fast-paced, up-tempo, and highly energetic ‘Alive For A Night’. Fun seems to be at the heart of ‘Alive For A Night’ – I have visions of all the band grinning like Cheshire cats while recording this one. The fun factor has come right through, with grins a mile wide appearing on listeners’ faces. What a song – and surely one that’ll go down an absolute storm live. All pace drops for an elegant, anticipation laden, and I have to say their name again, Iron Maiden style intro to ‘Silver Moon’, which then bursts into life and races off at high speed. The fastest song heard so far, ‘Silver Moon’ is head bangingly addictive, the worldwide mosh pits coming alive with frenzied head nodding. For someone who grew up in the eighties, in the UK, listening to British metal as it developed, ‘Storm The Walls’ (the album) has all the flavour of probably the greatest era ever for heavy metal. And still without pausing for breath, Stray Gods motor on with the electrifying ‘Naked In The Fire’ – a fast and furious gallop of everything great about heavy metal. The band delivering a cracking crescendo of hard-hitting metal with a massive melodic streak, this is gotta be one of the most impressive debuts ever!

Now then, regular readers will already know my stance regarding ballads on metal albums, but for those who are new here – ballads are for rock albums and not metal ones. There are exceptions to this, however, for example, Iron Maidens ‘Wasting Love’, and my all-time favourite German power metal band Rage, who in my eyes simply cannot do anything wrong. I only say this, for Stray Gods now enter the realms of balladry with ‘Love In The Dark’, a powerful and passionately sung ballad that will encourage listeners to raise their lighters high in the air and sway from side to side. And to be honest – it fits! The band have managed to do what ‘Maiden and Rage so easily achieve – inserting a ballad onto a metal album and making it not appear out of place. Kudos Katsionis.

And with a cracking “metal scream”, we are back to the fast-paced fury of earlier, with the red hot scorcher ‘The World Is A Stage’. Chiming in as the fastest song on the album ‘The World Is A Stage’ is a ferocious gallop of head bang-able metal, infectious to the max, and a highlight among the many highlights this album has to offer. The final song on the album is the seven and a half minute long ‘Storm The Walls’, with a spoken word “sat around the campfire” style intro, setting a tension-filled atmosphere for what is to follow – a majestic mid-tempo stroll. Lacking the out and outpace of what has gone before, ‘Storm The Walls’ (the song) has the bold finesse of an, and I swear this is the last time I’ll mention them, Iron Maiden epic album ending. The change of pace at halfway is electric, the galloping furore a joy to behold, and ultimately, a fucking great way to end the album.

Overall, a fast-paced gallop of traditional heavy metal, ‘Storm The Walls’ is an aural delight.

TRACKLIST

The Seventh Day
Black Horses
Alive For A Night
Silver Moon
Naked In The Fire
Love In The Dark
The World Is A Stage
Storm The Walls

Stray Gods: Facebook

Release Year: 2022
Label: Rock Of Angels Records
Category: Album
Country: Greece

Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire, and Metal-Roos.