Back to the tents again after a further peruse of the record tents then Paul and I set off with devious plan to catch Obituary. However, as we walked past the Sophie tent a beautiful sound of a Dickinson-eque voice caressed our ears and drew us in where we were presented with Stormzone. After much deliberation and refusal to believe what we were hearing, we were astounded to find that British power metal actually lives! Old school power metal at its best is what this band produce. High-octane vocals with quick paced ascending descending riffs and plenty of cheesy lyrics to go around. All the band moved around the stage with vigour and purpose as they were clearly in their element as the shovelled this beautiful music down our ears. Air guitars we at the ready and as Matt snuck in beside us we threw away our cares and lost ourselves in this music. Apparently supporting Saxon at the end of the year, I CANNOT wait to catch these guys again
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There are always certain bands that you look forward to seeing more than others at these festivals, and having witnessed outstanding sets from them at Hard Rock Hell and Sonisphere I certainly couldn’t wait to see what Stormzone would bring to Bloodstock. Their immensely atmospheric style blew us away from the start, and like they’ve done so many times over the last year the Northern Irish outfit crafted a captivating and stunning performance that can only be described as mesmeric. Much of this was down to the spectacular vocal prowess of John ‘Harv’ Harbinson, and the exceptional guitar work of Steve Moore and David Shields. The anthemic gold of ‘The Pass Loning’ and ‘Where We Belong’ were of course major highlights, as was a stunning rendition of ‘Death Dealer’ and ‘The Legend Carries On’. It was admittedly unfortunate that they clashed with a popular band on the main stage just like they did at Sonisphere, but once again those who opted to check Stormzone out got something they will never forget.
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Belfast’s Stormzone are proper heavy metal. They hark back to a more innocent time of big riffs, big choruses and bigger hair and tales of being out on the highway and all that stuff. Lots of riffs, massive sings to get your teeth stuck into and the most effortlessly entertaining forty minutes of the weekend. It would be really easy to be cynical about Stormzone it would also be wrong. They make music that is life-affirming and music that puts a huge smile on your face. You cannot ask for any more than that.
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Over on the Sophie stage, Stormzone begin with an almost empty tent. It’s a shame, as their classic Heavy Metal sound really does the trick, with frontman John Harbison delivering some outstanding clean vocals. Before too long, more people flock towards the riffs; good to see, as the Northern Irish 5-piece are getting their Rock on with great big smiles and some quality harmonisation. There’s a bit of a Dio vibe that emerges, possibly from the style of vocals, and the newly expanding audience are happy enough with that.
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Stormzone (8/10) were great, playing a set of straight forward but excellent melodic power metal in the Iron Maiden and Saxon mould; lots of choreographed moves which at one point had us convinced they must be German! They played a range of tracks including tunes from their latest release, the excellent Three Kings and earlier release Death Dealer. Stormzone will be supporting Saxon and Hell and will also be at Hard Rock Hell so I shall look forward to at least another two encounters with John ‘Harv’ Harbinson and band.
On Satuday 23rd August, the usually tranquil Barn Stage at Sunflowerfest is going to be smashed by the Storm. We're in the headline slot for this one, and I can promise you that it's not to be missed. Top-notch music, face-pulling and shape-thowing of the highest order, the tightest jeans, the most studded of belts, the pointiest guitars, surprises, giveaways - and actually good fun for all, even if you're not a full-time Metalhead. Catch us on stage just just before 10PM - you can still buy day tickets right now on the offical website at www.sunflowerfest.co.uk
See you there \m/><\m/
The final preparations are over, Stormzone are on their way to Bloodstock. After rehearsal we retreated to Graham's cinema room for a listen to some of the tracks from the (still unfinished!) fifth studio album. And man, it is sounding awesome!
If you're planning to catch us at Bloodstock (and if you're not, why not?!) we're on the Sophie Lancaster stage on Sunday at 16:25 sharp! Come find us before and after the show and hang out for a while, we'll be rampaging across the festival site from Saturday afternoon \m/><\m/
Game faces on, then! Harv declared that they are ready to kick up a storm and they are right in the zone to rock!
"We have never been better prepared, we have rehearsed relentlessly, played an excellent warm-up show at the Diamond Rock Club last weekend and the reviews of Sonisphere have been excellent and urging people to check us out at Bloodstock, so everything is in our favour and we're looking forward to once again representing Northern Ireland in another important major event!
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There are those who could accuse Stormzone of playing music that is a throwback to the eighties, but that is to miss the point. The members have absorbed the metal they grew up with, placed a huge Stormzone stamp on it, and brought a touch of 21st Century class. This isn't retro rock, this a storm front of sheer metal enjoyment: where what could have become clichés in lesser hands have become a 21st Century live phenomenon, marrying the metal of our youth to the 2014 mindset. Yes, for all who may have stood at gigs, po-faced and reserved, Stormzone leaves each and everyone smiling. Fans at Bloodstock are in for a treat when the weather brings a Storm(zone) through the Derby countryside, raising hell, raising fists and raising the semi-conscious to partake in another brew. There is no magic formula to rock and metal, but there are secret ingredients that can raise it above the mundane...