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Stalker - 2017 Shadow Of The Sword

ARTIST: Stalker
ALBUM: Shadow Of The Sword
LABEL: Naplam Records
YEAR: 2017


LINEUP: Daif King - vocals, bass * Chris Calavrias - guitars * Nick Oakes - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Total Annihilation * 02 The Mutilator * 03 Path Of Destruction * 04 Shadow Of The Sword * 05 Satanic Panic * 06 Shocked To Death * 07 Demon Dawn * 08 Master Of Mayhem * 09 Evil Dead * 10 Steel God


WEBLINKS: Bandcamp Page | FB Page

New Zealand has never been particularly renowned for its heavy metal acts over the decades, with scant few worth remembering.. in fact I can't recall any to be honest. Maybe it's my old age, or just being so far removed from the country since my self-imposed exile over the last 20 years. Regardless Stalker could just be the band to change this, a traditional heavy metal band from Wellington who were formed from the remnants of Razorwyre, who both Chris Calavrias and Nick Oakes belonged to. Stalker released a demo in 2016 titled 'Satanic Panic' which caught the ear of Napalm Records, who subsequently signed them. Their debut album is pure speed metal mayhem, recalling the vintage days of the early 80's when the genre was in its infancy. These guys have the sound down to an art form, keeping the spirt of metal alive in glorious fashion.

The Songs
Stalker evoke the likes of early Slayer, Exciter and Exodus without breaking a sweat, never letting the speed slip and delivering a true wall of noise. The riffs are shredding and if you didn't know any better, you'd swear this was recorded in 1983. The titles speak for themselves and the songs are mostly short and to the point, just what you expect from a band parlaying this form of metal. Highlights are vast, with 'Shocked To Death' 'Total Annihilation', 'Satanic Panic' and 'Master Of Mayhem' all standing out. 'Demon Dawn' opens slowly, with a spoken word intro, before dissolving into warp-speed territory, just a pummeling assault. King's vocals are over the top as you'd expect, shrieking like Steve DeSouza in his prime. This is simply the epitome of denim and leather clad, long haired, street level heavy metal.

In Summary
The album has been received enthusiastically and Stalker are definitely on to something here. Yes this type of metal has been plundered by endless pretenders trying to nail that early 80's sound, but not many as convincingly as these guys manage to. They've gotten everything right. Let's hope it stays that way and they hang around for a long while yet.

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#1 | gdazegod on April 15 2018 23:47:46
Don't know too much about the NZ metal scene these days. Even when I lived in Wellington, it was pretty sparse. The 80's were far more productive, good to see a band keeping speed metal alive.. lol.

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