Storm Force: Age of Fear (Review)

As promised, today we delve into a full album, and a Canadian one at that. Entitled Age of Fear and released January this year, this is the debut album by Storm Force. The band consists of Brian Hamilton, Mike Beradelli, Patrick Gagliardi and Greg Fraser, and you can actually check out a conversation with the latter three, Sir Deke and the great Lebrain right here.

But as for the album, the eerily prophetically titled 45 minutes of rock commences with a short passage of keyboards that manages to be both tender and grand at the same time. This gives way to the opening riff of “Because of You”, a really good song with an epic hook (along with many other songs on the album) and great vocals courtesy of the amazing pipes of singer Patrick Gagliardi. On the chorus of this song in particular he adopts a style not at all dissimilar to Axl Rose in his prime, only less likely to be late to shows. It sounds really awesome, quite frankly, and even though he doesn’t revisit the style on later songs, the singing elsewhere is still just as good. Song two is the title track, another good one in the vein of Stormforth’s best. The most notable aspect is the wicked riff.

The third song, “Breathe-Words” is the most unique song on the disc, having a second, female, singer (Serena Pryne) sharing lead vocal duties and being a little less in your face and a little more melodic. The band also demonstrate that they understand the guitar solo perfectly on this song. They are top-notch. They go places and tell a story of notes that links perfectly back into the song.

The next song is the first of three songs to not be entirely electric rock-fests (it’s also the best of the three too). “Ember Rain” is a softer acoustic song, but it doesn’t bog down the listening experience as Gagliardi’s singing keeps the interest in the song. Heaviness returns of the fifth song, “Ride Like Hell”. Once again the band demonstrate a masterclass in epic chorus hooks and impeccable note choice for the solos, even if the backing vocals on the chorus are just a little iffy-sounding. Ditto that for “Dirty Vegas”, though my preference lies with “Ride Like Hell”.

The next song is the second softer song. It’s “More Than You Know” and it’s quite similar in style to “Ember Rain”, just a slightly inferior song. It’s not bad but it’s the closest the album gets to filler. Thankfully, my favorite song is next, “Marshall Law” (and you can check out a song of the week with an apt humorous send-off right here). Everything about the album I mentioned I like comes through in spades here. And there’s even a guitar harmony!

But inevitably, we must reach the third non-heavy song. “Different Roads” does differentiate itself from the other two by being quite piano centric, but we probably didn’t need three softer songs on the album. It’s not bad at all, just not remarkable in any way. But at least we end on perhaps the second-best song on the album. “Ringside” is just like “Marshall Law”. It nails everything.

I tell you, there’s a lot of bands out there that should be relieved that they haven’t put an album out this year. The closest this album gets to a proper shortcoming is perhaps having one too many softer songs. They’re not bad, but when you nail the heavy stuff they do tend to stick out as a little dull at times. Nevertheless, Age of Fear is an awesome album, and it’s only their debut.

The verdict- 4.5/5 stars

3 thoughts on “Storm Force: Age of Fear (Review)

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