Not only are the Brits coming to re-write the Power Metal handbook with the likes of DRAGONFORCE and INTENSE we are also in the process of storming into town on the Hard Rock wagon with the excellent STATETROOPER and it’s only taken them eighteen years to get their second album out!
Fronted by MSG main man Gary John Barden STATETROOPER are brimming full of brisk, in your face, fist pumping and catchy Hard Rock very much in the same vein as legendary stalwarts UFO and TEN. However at times STATETROOPER covet an almost fanatical intensity for down and outright British Metal. The crushing intro riff to ‘’Casablanca’’ and the razor slashing solo in ‘’I’m Alive’’ adds a thoroughly hard edge to the sound and with the rumbling bass and drums thundering along side this is an unexpected but pleasant surprise. Classy Hard Rock is never that far away though with the title track, ‘’I’m Alive’’, ‘’Amerasians’’ and the superb riff-tastic ‘’D.O.A.’’ all showcasing just what a buzz a good dose of British Hard Rock can do for you. And naturally the choruses are killer!
‘’Love Lies Bleeding’’ slightly misses the mark on the power ballad front as it’s neither a ballad or a Rocker but somewhere in between (the riff crashing in midway through is a bruiser) but that’s a very minor point as the album doesn’t include any tracks less than excellent. Mention must not only be made of Barden’s strong powerhouse vocals (he can still cut it) but also the sublime guitar playing of Jeff Summers and Martin Mikkels. From one huge riff to another and from blistering Eddie Van Halen inspired soloing to another the musicianship is really first class.
Eighteen years to wait for this. Let’s hope it’s not another eighteen before the next STATETROOPER record. (Online August 13, 2004)