I've been an obsessed hard rock/heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Sylent Storm, "The Fire Never Dies"
Country: Oregon, USA
Genre: Traditional/Melodic Heavy Metal
Release: Stormspell Records, November 2020
COVID-19 be damned, heavy metal forges on at the tiny-but-true Stormspell Records label, who continue to crank out only the purest steel. Their late-2020 release slate is looking pretty sweet, and out of the most recent batch of Stormspell sneak peeks I've received, The Fire Never Dies from Medford, Oregon's very own Sylent Storm is currently occupying my most-played spot. The Fire Never Dies is this quartet's first full length album, though they have been together since 2013 and have a previous 6-track EP under their studded belts.
Headbangers with long memories may recall the name of Sylent Storm's vocalist Jym Harris, whose underground-metal resume stretches back to the late '80s and includes stints in such bands as Cruella (who were once part of the Stormspell label roster), Sacred Child, and Emissary. In Sylent Storm, Jym renews his devotion to the old school "true metal" vibe. The twelve tracks on The Fire Never Dies are straight outta the valley of 1984, recalling the melodic-but-crunchy likes of classic Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Leatherwolf, Omen, and Dokken -- in other words, the sort of thing that's right up my street.
"The Fire Never Dies"
The Fire Never Dies kicks off with the title track, a mission statement of sorts that's solidly in the ballpark of Screaming For Vengeance-era Judas Priest. We're off to a good start, and Sylent Storm keeps that level of high quality throughout the rest of the album. On "Wrath of the Blade" I detect a bit of George (Dokken) Lynch influence in the riff work of MIchael Ian Brisbaine, especially during the solo portion. "Witches Blood" is a crunchy, doomy metal monster with a slight King Diamond feel to the vocals. The short instrumental guitar piece "Morpheus" gives the band a chance to show off their impressive acoustic chops before slamming into the melodic, soaring highlight track "Shadow in the Dark."
The mournful, droning guitar instrumental "Lunar Eclipse," oddly enough, reminds me of something Billy Duffy of The Cult might have whipped up (you can almost hear the band preparing to kick into "Fire Woman!"), but from there, Sylent Storm flips the switch on the absolutely killer epic "Beware the Bloodmoon," which is my favorite track on the album thus far. "March Forth" features some nimble bass acrobatics from Mike Pugh and a rousing, sing-along chorus, while the ripping anthem "Patriots of Metal" is a swirling mass of heavy riffage and sing-along hooks.
The classy, Zeppelin-esque acoustic ballad "Sleeping in the Rain" provides a brief, relaxing break from all this metal mayhem, but don't let your guard down for too long, because its mellow vibe sets the listener up nicely for the pummeling, all-men-play-on-ten headbanger finale "Betrayal." This six and a half minute epic closer has plenty of hills and valleys that are made for air-guitaring or air drumming along to. You'll have a sore neck by the time The Fire Never Dies comes to an end, but it'll be totally worth it -- and you'll probably press the "replay" button for another dose, as well.
"Beware the BloodMoon"
The Fire Never Dies has been riding high at the top of my daily play lists ever since I received it from Stormspell and it certainly seems like it'll be staying there for quite some time to come. This is some quality stuff, and it also sports the coolest album cover I've seen all year. Nothin' says "Heavy Metal" like a giant flaming eagle, y'know. That art would look totally bad-ass on a t-shirt, or splashed across the back of a denim jacket.
Sylent Storm may be a "new" band, but on The Fire Never Dies they sound like a seasoned, veteran combo right out of the gate. Good show, fellas. Two horns up.
If Sylent Storm sounds like your kind of metal meat (and I can't see how they wouldn't), you can find out more about them via their official Bandcamp page, or at their official Facebook. Be prepared -- a Storm is coming!
© 2020 Keith Abt