Tigers of the sea...
Genre: 80s metal
Stormwitch are listed as a power metal band, and I suppose their music does have power metal traits; but then its very early power metal whose nature is much closer to traditional 80s metal than to power metal as we know it today. To me, this is probably more of a classic traditional 80s metal album - and one of the better ones.
This is one of those releases that have a special role in my life, and in this case we are talking about one track actually - namely, the mighty "Tigers of the Sea." The story goes like this: when I was a kid, one of the national radio stations, P3, ran a show for several years aimed at children, called "Børneradio". The nature of the shows differend throughout the years, but one particular favorite type of show was the narrative, or dramatic reading, show in which a narrator (often the actor Carsten Overskov) would tell the readers about important historical events or perhaps recite a work of fiction accompanied by various music; these thematic shows would often run the course of several weeks, and one such show - with Overskov behind the mic - was about pirates, and they would play excerpts from "Tigers of the Sea" throughout the show. Now, I might misremember all the details, and maybe it was not a show about pirates, and maybe it was not narrated by Carsten Overskov - the human mind tends to forget such details, but one thing remained clear in my memory ever since - namely, the chorus from "Tigers of the Sea", and that really shows the power of music, and it also suggests that Stormwitch did something magic with that song. It's not like it is any different from a lot of other good 80s metal songs - it's got galloping guitars, its got a verse and a pre-chorus and a chorus, it's got the big reverb-ladden drums and it's got the oohs, the aahs and the eehs - still, it is one of those songs that just sticks to one's memory forever... and that is the magic of music.
Anyway, Stormwitch deliver high quality 80s metal on this album, ranging from uptempo epic and catchy tracks (like "Call of the Wicked" and "Tigers of the Sea") over midtempo and heavier tracks (like "Russia's On Fire") to melodic and even ballady tracks with a certain pop sensibility to them (like the title track). Stylistically, the music on this album may be compared to 80s metal acts like Accepts and Judas Priest, but there is also a certain uplifting glam metal feel to the music (and, yes, the band's image was definitely glam, but I am talking about the music itself, and there are a couple pf places that remind me of Ratt, Stryper and Kixx at their best on this album) - and then there are inklings of power metal larger-than-life attitude as well. The production is very big and reverb-ladden, like a lot of metal was in the 80s, but this is one of those rare cases where I do not mind this type of production.
I specifically like the vocals. While Andy Aldrian certainly does the screams and the vibratos of 80s metal, his voice often has more of a 80s new wave quality to it, sounding like a more moderate mixture of Adam Ant and Bono, and I really like how this adds a very original dimension to the music on this album.
"The Beauty and the Beast" is a metal classic, and a gem of 80s metal at its best, and belongs in any metal music collection.