Review by Vladimir on October 17, 2023.
As four wicked occultists attempt to sacrifice a maiden on a full moon night, a barbarian deathstalker wielding his trusty blade, swoops out from the murky swamps to rescue the damsel in distress. The topic I’ll be covering for this review is a Canadian heavy metal band Tower Hill and their debut full-length album Deathstalker, set to be released on October 27th via No Remorse Records. Without any further ado, it’s time to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women.
A great and highly promising start with the opening title track 'Deathstalker' hints that you will be hearing tons of guitar melodies, wall breaking heavy metal riff mania, bone crushing double-bass drumming and epic vocals which incorporate high pitch screams during choruses. Next to the heavy riffs and exquisite melodies, you can hear that there are also interesting bass lines and bass melodies on top of that. Apart from the all the catchiness and full throttle that you will witness on tracks such as 'Kings Who Die', 'All The Little Devils Are Proud Of Hell' and 'Antigone', this album also rocks with effective mid-tempo heaviness which is evident on 'In At The Death'. Both 'In At The Death' and 'Antigone' possess some interesting high pitch screams which reminded me a bit of Warrel Dane from the first two Sanctuary albums, especially when combined with the main epic vocals. The general songwriting is very straightforward and pounding heavy metal riffing from start to finish, with tons of epic choruses and melodies which wonderfully spice things up. The great thing about this album is that it’s very easy listening, so you don’t have to worry about missing any key detail in the music or losing track, because the entire thing is stylistically consistent from one song to another and every bit is kept to a simple yet highly effective level. The overall themes that Tower Hill deals with on Deathstalker are traditional mythological, war and fantasy themes which nicely fit with the kind of musical output incorporated in every song. Funnily enough, I presumed that this would be a conceptual album about Conan the Barbarian or even Korgoth of Barbaria for some weird reason, if you remember that Adult Swim short. Although I did enjoy the album as a whole, there were moments when I felt that the album was a bit lacking in tone and not quite as memorable as I wanted it to be. Indeed, every bit of performance on this album is great but somehow it seems like it was just a few steps away from being one of the exceptional heavy metal albums of the year. This isn’t to say that the album is entirely generic or repetitive, far from it, the only thing that I am pointing out is that Deathstalker could have been so much more to what it is and all that it’s just missing was to hit the right note which would definitely bring the album on a higher spot among the traditional heavy metal releases of 2023. However, if you manage to look aside from the small issue and you just came here to enjoy some good traditional heavy metal music like I did, then I don’t have to tell you that this album is ideal for you.
In the end, I consider Deathstalker to be a fairly enjoyable album that will definitely be picked up by dedicated NWOTHM fans. Tower Hill did a good job overall and they certainly seem to be fans of sword and sorcery inspired heavy metal albums which is what they seem to be going for. Fans of bands like Visigoth, Eternal Champion and Megaton Sword should check this one out and see if this will quench your undying thirst for steel and vengeance.
Rating: 8.2 out of 10595