Review by Carl on September 24, 2023.
There are tank tread tracks all over the yard, there's the omnipresent smell of gunpowder hanging around the neighborhood, and the people from across the street are anxiously looking over the edge of a trench they hastily dug themselves. Yup, it looks like the new Sturmtiger album has arrived.
For those who missed their previous output: Sturmtiger deal in a vicious blend of death and black metal, with a lyrical fascination with war, and that is no different on this album. The band takes elements from grinding death metal acts such as early Kataklysm and Deranged, and combines these with influences of black metal acts such as Marduk, Triumphator and Setherial. This results in varied tracks where blast beat frenzy alternates with midtempo and slower parts throughout, while a hoarse, gruff bark rounds out the band's sound. In the vitriolic guitar riffs I also recognized traces from diverse bands, sometimes Destruction, but old Bathory, Mayhem and Dismember came to mind too. There were moments that reminded me of abrasive black/death commando units such as Conqueror, Blasphemy and Diocletian, but it must be stated that the band wields a more technical proficient edge regarding their sound. Sturmtiger are intense, yes, but they do not bludgeon the listener to pulp with unrelenting blasphemic rage, but insert the right amount of death metal riffing and shredding guitar leads into the mix to ensure variation, while still keeping the adrenaline levels high. Sprinkle some sparse war samples into the mix, and there you are: death/black metal mania galore!
The production is devoid of unnecessary frills, keeping it natural and heavy, just the way I prefer on this kind of music. If there's anything I'd have to bring up, it's that the percussion doesn't always come through within the totality of the sound. The drums sometime get pushed into the background by the vocals and guitars, but the other way around also occurs. Perhaps not optimal, but it does lend the volatile music a kind of chaotic edge that I do appreciate, to be honest. Also worth mentioning is the brutal sound of the bass guitar, that I wouldn't have minded being louder up in the mix.
Sturmtiger's second full length album certainly brings the goods, alright. It delivers on demented aggression, frenzied execution and pounding stomp without fail, while sounding menacing doing it. An excellent release for all into the rougher 'n' gruffer styles of both death and black metal, for sure.
And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if I can get the neighbors to calm down and close up that trench of theirs.
Rating: 8 out of 101.01k
Review by Vladimir on September 9, 2023.
Sturmtiger! The word sounds so familiar yet I could barely recall anything that associates me with that name other than the famous German tank from World War II. It took me a while to remember the band by that name, which I discovered through a friend of mine who gave me some of his oldest records, one of them being the 7” vinyl of Atomic Hammer EP by a death/black metal band Sturmtiger from Denmark. Although I haven’t been able to check out the band’s entire discography, I decided to give it another go with their second full-length Transcendent Warfare, released June 25th, 2023 via Demented Omen Of Masochism. As willing as I was to check it out, little did I know what I would await on the battlefields…
The album unloads all the cannons with the instrumental two-minute opener track 'Forced March', which immediately warns you that this album is going to be gunfire and shrapnel from start to finish. If total war is what you came looking for on this album, then the second track 'Armoured Spearhead' kicks in and clearly states “what you seek is what you get!”. The absolute beast of a song is 'Imperium' which can only be described as “blitzkrieg” from start to finish. The musical output mostly consists of blast beat drumming with war-like guitar riffs and growling guttural vocals, but executed perfectly where everything feels in place. The death-thrashing riffs are definitely one of this album’s highlights, especially because each one of them is an absolute banger and is so heavy that it shakes the earth. As I was completely immersed into the majestic madness of this album, I kept saying that this album is pure Bolt Thrower worship all the way through. I should note that this doesn’t just have to do with the riffs, drums, vocals or the lyrical themes of war, but the overall energy and the artistic expression successfully represent the terrors and philosophies of war, and in so many ways it actually managed to throw me back to the times when I discovered and fell in love with “Realm Of Chaos (Slaves To Darkness)”. The stylistic consistency of Transcendent Warfare is definitely one of its strongest points, especially because every track is top notch and at no point does the album start to feel weak or slowing down. Some of the strongest tracks on this album would definitely be 'Armoured Spearhead', 'Imperium', 'War Is Eternal' and 'Universal Eradicator', although I think that it’s unnecessary to name individual tracks since the album absolutely dominates from one track to another. My only issue that I have with this album is that it’s really short, because its total length of 27 minutes and 7 seconds which brings this absolute delight to a sudden conclusion. I still believe the band could have squeezed in at least two more songs to fill up the runtime, but because this album is so strong and maniacal, I think that you can easily ignore this smaller issue. The sound production does a great job at providing a raw and heavy guitar tone in a very oldschool death metal style, which was wonderfully combined in the entire mix along with the drums and the vocals.
Transcendent Warfare really caught me by surprise and I must say that I was absolutely astonished with the raw energy that Sturmtiger transcended on this album. I must say that this is by far one of the heaviest albums of the year and an absolute must hear for fans of Truppensturm, Bolt Thrower and 1914. I can guarantee that this album is an “all killer no filler” and it wonderfully wrecks the living battlefield from start to finish.
Rating: 8.6 out of 101.01k