Violent Storm - Storm Warning
Gold Storm Records
Melodic Heavy Metal
10 songs (35:44)
Release year: 2006
Violent Storm
Reviewed by Mike

Violent Storm is a new band, but you could hardly call this an effort by a bunch of rookies in the industry. This is a band playing melodic heavy metal with elements of American power metal and hard rock showing in spots. Bassist Mick Cervino, formerly of Yngwie Malmsteen's band and Blackmore's Night founded the band. He has certainly surrounded himself with some talented musicians to help introduce his band to the world. In addition to drummer Mike Sorrentino (formerly of Zebra) and lead vocalist Matt Reardon, KK Downing of Judas Priest produced the album, and Roy Z mixed the album. Downing and Roy Z each make a guest appearance on two tracks, as does Yngwie Malmsteen.

The album is stacked from the top with the songs containing guest musicians. While Storm Warning is a solid album as a whole, the first half is clearly the more interesting piece of the album. War No More opens the album with a pounding double bass rumble. This is one of KK Downing's guest appearance tracks, and it is one of the heaviest of the disc. In addition to its aggressiveness and KK's dizzying guitar work, the song is still catchy and memorable. Fire in the Unknown is next, and we're treated to another double bass laden track that is American power metal at its best. Yngwie fires off a dazzling solo that may be a little longer than need be, but that's Yngwie being Yngwie. Again, the chorus line is one that burns its way into your memory after just the first listen. KK's other guest track, Deceiver is next. This is a darker track in a much more mid tempo setting than its two predecessors. Where the band has cut the tempo, they more than make up for it with aggressiveness, killer guitar work throughout, and another chorus line that refuses to be forgotten. Yngwie's second track comes next, Pain. This is another darker track of the mid tempo variety. Yngwie goes bananas on his guitar solo again, but it does fit right in with the tone of the song. The song itself isn't quite as catchy as others we've heard so far, but there's plenty here to chew on, making it another album highlight. Alimentary Fable is next, the first track not to feature any guest musicians. Musically speaking, it is the least aggressive thus far, but easily the most melodic. The services of Malmsteen or Downing aren't needed on this track to come up with some memorable guitar work here. With these five tracks, I am almost certain that this album is on it's way to really stand out as one the best debut albums of the year.

Screaming in Your Face starts off the second half of the album. It also begins a string of songs that just doesn't achieve the quality level of those on the first half. Instead of continuing the ride of simply outstanding melodic metal, the albums loses some steam and closes with a second half that is just good; no more and no less. Screaming In Your Face, You Don't Care, Owning You, and Empty Hope are good tracks, but are outshadowed by the first half of the album. Most notably, the catchiness isn't there. As far as the soloing goes, the band still strives for some guitar hero moments, but they very much pale in comparison to what Downing and Malmsteen provide earlier. Mick Cervino does provide some really interesting pieces on the bass guitar that you really notice after a few listens. Storm closes the album, and kicks the quality back up a notch to finish the album. The song was arranged and written by Ritchie Blackmore, with his wife Candice Night providing the lyrics. After a solemn, slow beginning, the song takes off in the middle, only to decrescendo at the end again. Evergrey really comes to mind here, both in terms of music and vocal delivery. Vocalist Mark Reardon has a baritone delivery much like Tom Englund, and the similarities in their voices are very apparent on this song. Reardon doesn't have an extensive range which could have helped on a number of the songs. However, his voice is a welcome departure from many of the ultra high pitched vocalists that seem to frequently front these type of bands.

Despite some tracks standing out head and shoulders above the others, Storm Warning is a very solid offering for Violent Storm. Although many well known names from the hard rock and metal industry played a part in the creation of this album, it doesn't sound disjointed at all. The variety in style ranging from hard rock to American power metal keeps the album from getting stale, and is done in such a way that the album flows naturally one song to the next. I am concerned that as a general rule, the tracks featuring guest performances stand up above those that do not. I hope that Violent Storm is able to come up with an album full of songs of the caliber of the first half of this album. Having said that, the second album from Violent Storm will really tell us if this band has what it takes to endure over the long haul with staying power. If the band takes a bit from their mentors during the writing of this album and applies it to future albums, I think they could really be on to something.

Killing Songs :
War No More, Fire In The Unknown, Deceiver, Alimentary Fable, Storm
Mike quoted 70 / 100
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