Sunday, June 26, 2011

Get Into: Stormtrooper (US)

I listened to Stormtrooper's Armies of the Night EP for the first time today, and got so stoked I had to share it immediately. What blew me away was how these dudes welded brawling UK punk to stripped-down NWOBHM. Sick, right!? If I hadn't looked 'em up on Metal Archives, I would still be laboring under the misapprehension that they were a British Oi! punk band pushing the sound in a more metal direction. In fact, Stormtrooper were a "US Power Metal" band from Arizona, of all places. To me, that makes them even cooler--these guys were clearly on their own trip.

If you like big blasting power chords, you will like Stormtrooper. The guitar sound is thick as an ox's neck and raw as a rusty razor, perfect for their mix of stomping midtempo punk riffs and epic shred. I can only imagine some close-minded 80s longhair hearing the title track and turning away in disgust after the first minute: "these guys are just punks, they can't even play their instruments!" Then, at 1:25, they bring in the solo and his jaw drops. In fact, it unhinges completely. 2:21 in "Search and Destroy" might be even more impressive. A mark of Stormtrooper's quality is that these transitions and juxtapositions never sound jarring--in fact, they're a highlight of the songs that you can look forward to with each listen.

Damien Black's vocal performance is pretty cool, too. He sounds simultaneously authentic and affected, at once highly musical and totally untrained. The dude has a flair for drama, and gives everything weird glam undertones. He changes up his "singing" with some really tough punk vox. The scream at 3:12 in "Search and Destroy" is classic. Oh, and there's usually a fake English accent.

As far as I know Stormtrooper were sort of in a class of their own, but I can't resist throwing out some comparisons just to show how broad their appeal is. You will probably dig this if you like
any (or all!) of the following: Sham 69, Manilla Road, early Iron Maiden, Dead Boys, Cirith Ungol, English Dogs, G.I.S.M., Warfare, Venom, you get the picture. Total spikes'n'studs shit, for the Road Warrior crew.

Credit where credit is due: I first heard Stormtrooper on a sick tumblr. It's this badass metal chick who's really into raw thrash and metalpunk. Her playlist is exquisite--lots of gnarly bands I'd never heard. She also posts pictures of naked gals in leather jackets and stuff. What's not to like? Check it out.


  1. my god this is awesome. I love you

  2. Lots of amazing bands have crawled out of Arizona. The desert heat and bizarre social environment causes some serious craziness.

  3. @ido: yup. i have a feeling you are talking about Mighty Sphincter? Apparently these two bands were contemporaries in Phoenix, how cool would it be if some booker had put them on the same bill...

    @sasmito: listen to some punk rock, dude.

  4. Actually only Damien the lead singer is from Arizona. He had the name and the songs he wrote, and came to Albuquerque, NM where he met Rob Nelson (drums) and Jim Fox (bass). They then contacted me (Kathy Shafer aka Kathy Nelson) in LA through a friend of mine at the Musicians union in Hollywood as I was a contact number for Tommy Lee Stryder who was actually from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. I brought the band to Hollywood set them up in a place, as I became their manager. Then they took on Mick Sweda who is from LA.