Right up front, let’s be perfectly clear. You’re either going to like this one of you’re not. Such is the gamble with niche artists such as German throwbacks Stallion. On their third full length, Slaves of Time, Stallion showcase an impressive array of musicianship while paying fitting tribute to a bygone era.
With a sound resting somewhere between a Judas Priest album cut and a Van Halen single, Stallion have proved themselves as masters of their craft. While not looking to rewrite the history books, favorite passages are certainly singled out, highlighted, underlined and adorned with as many explanation points fit on a page. And for what it is, it’s a homerun. This is a group of guys that know exactly what they want to do and are having the time of their lives doing it, and that is reflected on the album.
Slaves of Time, as a whole, is dripping with musical talent. From Aaron‘s hard hitting beats to the thumping back end of newcomer Christian Stämpfe to the stunning skills of the two headed guitar dragon comprised of Claudio Hürlimann and Äxxl. The vocal duties of lead singer Pauly are a particular delight, providing for every need of the vocal intensive musical style while holding a distinct nuance of his own.
Stallion, in my opinion, are at their strongest when they venture into thrash metal territory, with tracks like No Mercy and Merchants of Fear turning up the dial and offering some brutal speed and concussive force. Other highlights include the crunchy rock’n’roll of Time to Reload and the balls out anthemic stylings of album closer Meltdown.
Clearly the centerpiece of the album, Die With Me takes the 1980’s power ballad formula to epic proportions. Heartfelt and powerful, the seven minute opus features some of the album’s most impressive musicianship, letting the group sketch out beyond the trappings of breakneck speed and dance floor ready guitar licks. The emotional depth presented here makes for a career highlight for these gents.
Slaves of Time is a must listen for any classic rock radio junkie. While this is certainly not an album to satisfy the bloodlust of the most extreme of metalheads, it absolutely has its audience. While probably not a daily listener for me, I can see a good time to be had over a few beers with the boys and this playing in the background. Stallion grace us with a clear example of metal music’s longevity here. If nothing else I’m more than grateful for that.
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