Ignite The Machine
Metalopolis Records
July 31, 2020

Beginning life as a melodic hard rock band in the early 2000’s, Belfast’s Stormzone gradually underwent a metamorphosis into some more akin to traditional heavy metal by removing the keyboards from their sound. Yet, this heralded a tough time in the bands career, shaking off the melodic hard rock moniker and shifting line-ups had strong effects on the quality of the albums released. The Northern Irish band hit their stride with their 2018 album ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ and this year has that line-up returning with ‘Ignite the Machine’ in an attempt to recapture that magic.                 It can’t be debated that ‘Ignite the Machine’ isn’t a hard working album; this release once again has the band firing on all cylinders with some excellent song writing that really shows just how strong this line-up is. This is demonstrated through the excellent guitar playing from the duo Steve Moore and Dave Shields who throw out some classic guitar runs that would appeal to fans of Judas Priest, Sweet Savage and Queensrÿche with tracks such as ‘My Disease’, ‘New Age Necromancer’ and the title track with its twin guitar solo that also harks to Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy. Yet, it is the storming ‘Dragon Cartel’ which takes all the plaudits here, a ferocious blast of metal that may just be the best track Stormzone have ever written. Furthermore, what is a Stormzone album without some cheese? ‘Dealer’s Reign’ can rival Iron Maiden for sing-a-long whoa whoa whoa’s whilst even the most miserable metalhead can’t draw a smile at ‘This is Heavy Metal’ – complete with a cheesy namecheck to classic metal albums, whilst vocalist Harv Harbinson gives Geoff Tate a run for his money with exquisite vocal performances throughout, but particularly during ‘Revolution’.

Overall, ‘Ignite the Machine’ manages to pick up where ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ left off; but it does feel very much like its little brother. Yet, that does not make this album in anyway shape or form bad, if anything this album is just a tad too long clocking in at just over an hour and a couple of the songs wouldn’t be missed if they were omitted. However, what Stormzone can do with ‘Ignite the Machine’ is hold their head up high that they have managed todouble their run of decent albums.

  • Album - 7/10
  • Cover Art - 7/10
  • Songwriting - 7/10


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