Best Before: Death
Label: MDD Records
Out: March 21st, 2024
Playing time: 47:58

Stormhunter from Balingen (Baden-Württemberg) have been blasting their Power Metal since 1998. With a four-year creative break between 2003 and 2007, the self-titled debut album was only released in 2009 after the reunion. Two further albums followed in 2011 and 2014, but apart from two singles and two EPs in the early twenties, not much has been heard since then. So, it was time to produce a new long player after ten years of album abstinence. “Best Before: Death” saw the light of day in March. After various line-up changes in the early years, the line-up has now been stable for more than ten years. In other words, a well-rehearsed band. That should be a good basis for album number four.

“Morituri Te Salutant” sounds Italian. Almost. It comes from Latin and means “The dying greet you” (does this possibly mean “The condemned greet you”?). Anyway, the song is instrumental anyway. And it really gets going. So, it’s much more than an ordinary intro. So, the first “real” song is “Reaper”. The southern Germans really kick off here. The drums in particular drive forward mercilessly. Frank Urschler sings with a slightly raspy voice. “Altar Of Illusions” then starts a little more calmly and with beautiful guitar melodies. But that’s just the calm before the storm. It soon kicks off again. But it still remains melodic. With great hymn-like vocals. In contrast, “Nightmare” is very rhythmic, despite the tempo remaining high. It lives up to the song title. “Fallen Angel” is the longest song on the album, in the style of a great Metal anthem. In my opinion, it is the absolute highlight of the album. On the other hand, “Death” takes off again. Straightforward Power Metal, with a great hit factor and an insane guitar solo driven by the double bass. Another Metal anthem follows with “Empty Shell”. “Vagabond” is another high-speed perforce ride in which the guitars throw the ball back and forth. And Stormhunter remain multilingual. “Berceau De L’Enfer” is French and means “Cradle of Hell”. And of course, the sound is hellish too. “War Is Peace” – I wonder if this statement is true? At least you can hear a music box at the beginning. There is also more emphasis on melody than high-speed blasting. Another anthem. With epic choruses and a great guitar solo. At the very end, the instrumental power ballad “A Mourning In August” follows as an outro, with the emphasis clearly on “power”. Beautiful guitar melodies dominate here. And a classic fade out is concluded by the sound of the sea.

In my opinion, “Best Before: Death” is an outstanding album. Power Metal is celebrated to perfection here. The songwriting is varied, from high-speed Metal to anthems to ballads, everything that makes up this genre is there!

Stefan Müller – Guitars
Frank Urschler – Vocals (lead)
Andreas Kiechle – Drums
Burkhard Ulrich – Guitars
Florian “Fritz” Bernhard – Bass

Track list:

  • Morituri Te Salutant (Instr.)
  • Reaper
  • Altar Of Illusions
  • Nightmare
  • Fallen Angel
  • Death
  • Empty Shell
  • Vagabond
  • Berceau De L’Enfer
  • War Is Peace
  • A Mourning In August (Instr.)
  • Album - 9/10
  • Cover-Art - 8/10
  • Songwriting - 9/10


Disturbingly Good


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