Every now and then, especially during the Holiday season, Markus’ Heavy Music Blog is featuring some classics, some well-known and some not so much. This time we go to Germany, more precisely, Gerstetten on the Schwaebische Alb. We go back to the year 1987 and the band we are talking about is Stormwitch. “The Masters of Black Romantic” could already achieve considerable popularity with their first three albums since 1984 before the fourth album hit the shelves four years later.
‘The Beauty and the Beast’, so the title of the longplayer, was released in 1987 and represents the band with a more commercial approach. Nevertheless, in front of the local record store, 33 1/3, there was an impressive waiting line of metalheads at the time who didn’t want to miss the signing session on release day.
Compared to their previous releases, melodies became more prominent. Songs like the title track are highlights that survived all the years. The opening with the dynamic ‘Call of the Wicked’ is definitely a good one too and the sing-along potential of ‘Just for One Night’ is very appealing. A ballad can not be missed. ‘Tears by the Firelight’ shows the calmer side of the five Swabian metal warriors before the equally enjoyable B-side kicks-off with ‘Tigers of the Sea’. That the album has a lot of variety is proven by the slow but heavy ‘Russia’s on Fire’. The following tempo change with ‘Cheyenne (Where the Eagles Retreat)’ demonstrates that tempo and catchiness don’t have to be contradictory.
Unfortunately Stormwitch couldn’t maintain the quality of their classics after this album, even though the band released a few decent records in the early 2000s in a new line-up. The magic, Lee Tarot (R.I.P. 2013) and bandmates spread in the middle of the 80’s, it couldn’t be reached again. What remains are four metal records from the Swabian underground that are still a part of metal Valhalla.
- Call of the Wicked
- The Beauty and the Beast
- Just for One Night
- Emerald Eye
- Tears by the Firelight
- Tigers of the Sea
- Russia’s on Fire
- Cheyenne (Where the Eagles Retreat)
- Welcome to Bedlam
Label: Originally GAMA / Re-issue High Roller Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: Original 1986 / Re-issue 2018