Genre: Speed/Thrash/Heavy Metal
Country: New Zealand
Label: Napalm Records
I was arguing the other day with my friends and some editors about why the hell they can’t find (at least) a dozen albums that could fill a list with the ‘must have’ records of the year. Damn, I can name probably 30 or more that I bought and other 30 that I will (hopefully) acquire in the very few next months. And yes, Stälker’s ‘Shadow of the Sword’ is one of them. It was a couple of months ago when their cassette release made some noise for the band from New Zealand. World is a hungry place for pure Thrash Metal and the more or less 1,000 sold copies of their neck-breaking Satanic Panic demo in 2016 was a great start for a newcomer. Napalm Records signed them and the high expectations were sine qua non: the label, the fans, and the press. All eyes on Stälker. Fortunately, the blend of raw speed mixed with classic ’80s metal is something that (if you have the talent and the guts) can create frantic and unrelenting music for the ears of the fans. You don’t need gargantuan riffs or larger than life screaming. These guys have the pulse of the underground and the blood of the hell rats in their veins and these two things are enough for writing down an excellent Thrash album. True -or Trve if you prefer- 100% these Kiwis deliver 10 tracks of hatred and aggression based on early Slayer and Possessed. Of course it will bring you also in mind Raven, Helstar, Agent Steel and Exciter and I have to admit that Stälker’s guitarist, Chris Calavrias (that was first introduced to metal scene with Razowyre) has the ability of writing memorable riffs and excellent solos with his guitar without being repetitive. A journey to the dark and speedy 80’s with a fresh approaching is fair enough reason to buy a record, or what? Highlights: ‘Total Annihilation’, ’Shadow of the Sword’, ‘Satanic Panic’, ‘Shocked to Death’, while there’s a nice cover on Death’s classic ‘Evil Dead’.