Stray Gods – Storm The Walls

Storm The Walls Album Cover Art

Stray Gods – Storm The Walls
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time: 38:26
Review by Simon Black

This Greek NWOBHM outfit is the brainchild of prolific guitarist / producer Bob Katsionis, who has a fairly broad pedigree but clearly feels as disappointed as the rest of us with Iron Maiden’s most recent offering and has given us both an album that’s part history lesson, part tribute but so totally Maidenesque as to border on copyright infringement. Not that there’s anything wrong with this by the way, as they’re far from alone – with Britain’s Monument being another example of how you can go a long way just by being honest to your influences (and it’s worth noting that Katsionis borrows Monument’s Dan Baune for some of the guitar solos). Then there’s the fact that Katsionis is completely honest about it himself, with even the Instagram page declaring “Up The Irons!” just in case any of today’s youth weren’t getting the message.

This project was born of lockdown frustration, but doesn’t sound at all like it was recorded remotely. That’s what makes it a worthwhile record for me – as it’s bristling with the bounce and energy you get from a band bouncing off of each other and has a lovely fat reverb rich 80’s feel to it to boot. The eight tracks don’t outstay their welcome either with some tight writing pulling them together, although the record falls short of a shout it out loud floor-filling hit, although the opening riff of ‘Naked In The Fire’ is as catchy as fuck – it just needs a catchy chorus to go with it. To be fair that’s the same problem Dickinson had with his late 90’s solo albums…

So, “Storm The Walls” is the debut album for Iron Maiden Stray Dogs and although the majority of the stylistic nods to the Metal masters tend towards their first four 1980’s albums, there are nods towards the more Progressive complexity that came with a vengeance when Maiden relaunched themselves for this decade. Vocally Artur Almeida is early Bruce Dickinson in air-raid siren mode but more like his 90’s solo work than Maiden and Katsonis does a reasonable rendition of the three guitar interplay layering that modern Maiden deliver, so this leads me to suspect that given there’s only him on guitar in the studio that this material is not likely to be a touring concern, but then Tobias Sammett said the same thing about Avantasia and look where that got him…

01. The Seventh Day
02. Black Horses
03. Alive For A Night
04. Silver Moon
05. Naked In The Fire
06. Love In The Dark
07. The World Is A Stage
08. Storm The Walls

Artur Almeida – Vocals
Bob Katsionis – All Guitars & Keyboards
Gus Macricostas – Bass
Thanos Pappas – Drums


Stray Gods Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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