Torian - God Of Storms - (9.5/10)
Published on December 6, 2018
Label:Ram It Down Records
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.
December is a pain in the ass. This always seems to be when the best albums of the year appear and subsequently fuck up everyone’s year-end lists. Enter Torian: Paderborn’s answer to Orden Ogan mixed with a dose of Italy’s Ancestral. The massive choral enormity of the former mixed with the aggression of the latter – then given a healthy injection of youthful vibrancy. That sums up the majestic sound of Torian. God Of Storms may be their 4th full-length album, but it drives along with a hunger akin to a debut from an exciting up-and-coming outfit. The artwork is also phenomenal; taking a theme much overused in this sub-genre and giving it a mythical flair. For sure one of the best power metal albums of 2018, and definitely fucking up my year-end list – perhaps I shouldn’t be too eager in compiling these things…
From the opening moments, the fantastic production quality is instantly notable. The crisp, metallic snappiness of the drums is a style too often neglected in power metal, in favour of huge stadium-esque reverb. Let me tell you, this is how you mix drums for the genre. That, combined with a gritty-but-clear guitar tone, and rich vocal layers, create an overall sound that is utterly irresistible to fans of the style. Opening track “Old Friend Failure” is quick to exhibit all of these characteristics and draw the listener right in. You’ll be nodding and smirking throughout the verses until the incredible chorus has you raising your arms skyward and smiling ear-to-ear. We all know power metal songs revolve around their choruses. Well, Torian have totally nailed the art of the chorus. I can’t even mention specifics, because – no joke – every single refrain on God Of Storms is a memorable gem.
The quintet’s songwriting prowess really shines on this album. It’s clear that nothing was created with a ‘that’ll do’ attitude. Every hook, every riff, every vocal line…it all seems to have been developed to the point where the band felt they’d reached the right balance between complexity and accessibility. Take the chorus to “Blackened Souls”, where the tagline is repeated in a simplistic fashion, before totally screwing with the listener rhythmically on the third line. It’s little details like this which elevates God Of Storms above other power metal albums in 2018. Speaking of songwriting, the progressive tinges that rear their heads – particularly on the epic finale “A Glorious Downfall” – really take this record to the next level. “Saint Of The Fallen” turns out to be one of the most interesting songs of the year thanks to its progressive leanings.
This LP is also structured perfectly. Firstly choosing to strike the listener right between the eyes with three up-tempo Euro-power hymns (of which, “Far From Midian Skies” contains a ravishing chorus!). Then journeying through peaks and valleys, from the martial “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken”, through the rapid “A Thousand Storms”, to the melancholic pounding of “A Glorious Downfall”. If I’m forced to mention one particular highlight, it would have to be the insanely heavy outro to the blazing “Crimson Born” which seems to leap out of nowhere and melt my face like a fucking firestorm. I think I’ve just about reviewed this without going into too much detail. However, it’s difficult when an album is this good and every hook so memorable. Now that we’re well into December, I think I can confidently state that Torian’s God Of Storms is my power metal album of the year. Not gonna hold my breath though…