Stormwitch - Walpurgis Night

Stormwitch - Walpurgis Night

Stormwitch - Walpurgis Night

(1984, Scratch Records)

German Metal had never a radio-friendly metallic vibe; be it the monotonous vocals with the peculiar wannabe accent or the monolithic riffs that accompanied most releases back in the early 80s, most Teutonic bands had serious trouble trying to break into the mainstream crowds. In other words, not everyone had the charisma of ACCEPT. Hence, years passed by with most outfits falling into oblivion and – apart maybe form their own country – the European (or worldwide) Metal scene never heard of bands like this or that one, and definitely STORMWITCH was among them.

The band from Heidenheim was formed in 1979 by childhood friends Harald Spengler (aka Lee Tarot), Stefan Kauffmann (aka Steve Merchant) and Andy Mück (aka Andy Andrian). Aiming at local live shows and a full recording that would make them familiar with the German Metal map, STORMWITCH did have a long way to go until 1984, the year that this debut album hit the stores. Further recognition was yet to come with a series of albums in the 80s and until 1994 before calling it quits. The band reformed in 2002 only to release a couple of CDs in the mid-00s and then fell apart again, even if rumors have it that they still remain active. Lately Lee Tarot passed away, not to forget too...

What we hear in “Walpurgis Night” is the first decision of a German Metal band – one of the few that did not follow the ACCEPT pattern – to combine heaviness and melody in one throughout a full album. The lyrics themes are flirting with the occult, literature and historical themes in general, while the music is warm and passionate with guitar riffs based around main melodies and harmonies, even if breaking the boundaries of traditional Metal here and there and bite some more ‘medieval’ or ‘romantic’ stuff. The sound is surely Euro Metal as it was in its proto-Metal days in Germany with an accompanying melodic NWOBHM, 70s JUDAS PRIEST or MERCYFUL FATE aura lurking in beneath. The vocals are over-expressive and can be categorized as (even) naïve by critics of today but back then they tied equally well with the atmospheric guitars and pounding rhythm section in order to bring forth an essence of myth and epos.

STORMWITCH carried on in the same direction in 1985’s “Tales Of Terror” follow-up before softening their sound but without losing quality in the songwriting. They enjoyed minimal success in central Europe while the rest of the world needed bands like HAMMERFALL to release cover versions of their infamous songs (like “Ravenlord”) in order to start digging for this wonderful obscure act from Germany. History had it that this five-piece act never managed to cross their country’s borders (to say the least) but I’m pretty sure many European outfits that play this Euro Power Metal style nowadays – or, to be more precise, the last fifteen years – have studied the proto-Metal offerings of STORMWITCH before e.g. dressing them with a more commercial production. Needless to say, I’d love to see a new album out by this definitely unlucky historical band some time in the future; you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, right? So, if you’re a juvenile metaller and need to know more ‘bout how Euro Power Metal got the form it has up to today, please do yourself a favor and dive in the past to devour some really interesting and delightful music made from the hard at some really hard days for Teutonic Metal.


Tracklist

01. Cave Of Steenfoll
02. Priest Of Evil
03. Skull And Crossbones
04. Werewolves On The Hunt
05. Walpurgis Night
06. Flour In The Wind
07. Warlord
08. Excalibur
09. Thunderland


Lineup

Andy Aldrian - Vocals
Lee Tarot - Guitars
Steve Merchant - Guitars
Ronny Pearson - Bass
Pete Lancer - Drums