SYLENT STORM – The Fire Never Dies (2020)
Traditional ’80s US metal done by an American band… rare as hen’s teeth in 2020. But this is the case with “The Fire Never Dies“, the first full length album by SYLENT STORM.
Hailing from the state that unleashed bands Black ‘N Blue and Saint on to the world, Medford, Oregon’s SYLENT STORM are indeed playing classic, melodic metal with that old-school vibe. This is ‘keep it true’ music from the genre, driven by biting riffs, groove and melodious punch.
The even recorded “The Fire Never Dies” using analog-tape plug-ins, resulting into a more warm guitar / vocals sound and avoiding mastering saturation.
Sylent Storm built their muscles on live stages along the way stamping their combined strengths in a self-titled EP in 2014, which lay in quiet wait until being unleashed on CD at the tail end of 2018 and more recently on cassette.
After some line-up changes, 2019 lead to opening gigs for the likes of Dokken, Lita Ford and Kip Winger. This prepared SYLENT STORM for the impending release of ”The Fire Never Dies”, a 12-track disc that despite any oddities to do with their name, is indeed in the vein of “traditional” metal.
A quick glance over the song titles hints at such, but the final nail of proof lay in the sounds attacking your ears milliseconds after hitting the play button.
The band jump out of the gate immediately with the album’s title track. It has a plodding intro leading to a drop of a break followed by a fast ripping guitar ultimately giving way for double bass drums and just all the aggressive power necessary to grab fans and yank ’em headbanging into the metallic fray.
If I dare make any comparisons, it stands somewhere between early ’80s L.A. metal and that same period New Wave of British Heavy Metal with powerful yet clear and concise rhythms, and melodic metal style vocals that are easy to understand.
If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think that ”The Fire Never Dies” was one of those lost releases by an unsigned ’80s band that FnA Records likes to put out.
Filled with everything from classic riffs, Judas meets Maiden style grooves, fast attack rhythms, and even the occasional melodic slow end (not to mention breaks for customary instrumental moments), fans of early melodic metal like Queensrÿche, Crimson Glory, Saxon, and the earlier heavier sides of Dokken as well as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden should find plenty here to enjoy.
Vocalist Jym Harris is more of a straight up singer than screamer or power belter like say Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson but for SYLENT STORM, he is the perfect voice because the band’s focus is melody, with occasional hard rock groove, and theman is more than capable whether the music is hard or soft.
Bassist Mike Pugh holds down the low end perfectly and while I can’t speak for how well he melds with drummer Ray Kilmon (according to info, Rich Psonak laid down the great drums on ”The Fire Never Dies”), the rhythm bulldozes each and every track without any flaw I can pick out.
Rounding things out, guitarist Michael Ian Brisbane delivers the perfect balance of hard rock guitar and energy never once giving more than the track deserves. I have always believed that the ability to deliver energetic metal guitar without going too over the top is a rare trait and Brisbane seems to have an incredible handle on that.
Among the heavier buy clean numbers there’s ‘Witches’ Blood’, ‘Patriots Of Metal’, and ‘Eye Of The Storm’, yet not everything needs to veer towards metal. More steady melodic songs arrives with ‘Wrath Of The Blade’ and ‘Beware The Bloodmoon’, the latter can get a bit feisty with the guitar solo.
An anthemic metal ballad appears with ‘Sleeping In The Rain’, driven mostly by voice over acoustic guitar with a fine acoustic guitar solo arriving later.
These days you only find bands like this in hidden nooks and crannies, far away from venues that cater to the all-mighty mainstream buck and not to the metal faithful so when one does stick out its snarky head, it’s a pleasant smack across the head.
To be honest, in these days of isolation, the world needs more of this kind of old-school, honest, and why not, fun ‘keep it true’ classic melodic metal / hard rock.
01 – The Fire Never Dies
02 – Wrath of the Blade
03 – Witches’ Blood
04 – Morpheus
05 – Shadow in the Dark
06 – Eye of the Storm
07 – Lunar Eclipse
08 – Beware the BloodMoon
09 – March Forth
10 – Patriots of Metal
11 – Sleeping in the Rain
12 – Betrayal
Jym Harris – vocals
Michael Ian Brisbane – guitar
Mike Pugh – bass
Ray Kilmon, Rich Psonak – drums