9/10 for 'Zeppelin'! 'Essential-to-listen-to'!!!
As ever these days we bring GOOD TIDINGS. Our stalwart allies at AVE NOCTUM have chosen to award 'ZEPPELIN' a colossal 9/10!
Their Kapitan of Classic Metal, the legendary CHRIS DAVISON also had this to say "...it's easily the match, if not better than any of the more recent albums put out by the big NWOBHM bands. If you've got any interest in traditional metal at all, this should be on your essential-to-listen-to list"!
https://avenoctum.com/2023/12/11/stuka-squadron-zeppelin-metal-on-metal/ A full transcript is appended below:
I honestly did not believe that this was going to ever happen. The rumours of a new album have been around for a long time. Mainstay and bassist Lord Pyre has seemingly pulled off the impossible and got a stable line up and new music. This is especially impressive given that his last recording with the band (as far as Metal Archives informs me) was back in 2011 with one of my favourite trad-metal albums, “Tales of the Ost” (on the Volga Bridge is a mainstay in any of my playlists). It’s really important for new listeners to point out that while Stuka Squadron is comprised of…erm…undead vampiric Luftwaffe pilots from across the Axis, they are in no way an NSBM or Nazi affiliated band, with their theatrical position of being immortal warplane aficionados who are now telling their story through the medium of NWOBHM flavoured traditional metal.
I must confess that I was a little nervous about trying the album out. It had been so long since their last release that I wasn’t sure that the chops and magic would still be there, particularly with every band member except for Pyre now replaced. Joining the Squadron are Captain Strange (vocals), Max Flieger (drums), Klauss Von Orlok (guitars) and Generalissimo Strix (guitars). With such a major overhaul of the roster, could this possibly be a record worthy of the Squadron name? Yes, it could.
Following a dramatic opener with spoken word scene setting, the mob immediately set to business with “Pit of Fire”, which has the kind of twin guitar melodies that would have sounded perfectly at home on classic Maiden circa 82-84. I also had to do a double take – Captain Strange’s vocals are an uncanny match for the music, except (and dare I say it), that the high-notes are now absolutely world class. “The Last Valkyrie” is such an excellent track. Imagine, if you will, an unholy mix of early Savatage and the epic tones of Solstice (UK), and you’re going to be on the right lines. The rhythm section really pin this down, with the chorus being a massive counterpoint to the infectious vocal lines of the verses. “Tiger 2” is a grinding mid-paced affair, where the axe-work of Orlok and Strix is able to provide some grit alongside those classy melodies. Again, I can’t commend the chorus enough here – I don’t know how he’s done it, but Pyre has written an arrangement (particularly the chanted vocal-line “ohhh-ohhhh”) that lives in the memory long after the track finishes.
“It is Him” is a brief interlude regarding Rasputin raising the dead from 1916 (a little known historical fact), before “One Man Blitzkrieg” erupts from the speakers, a rager that puts modern Saxon to shame. I’m not that keen on “Montague Summers” (the song, not the pop-Occult “priest”), as it’s a little lightweight, albeit with some nifty drum fills from Flieger. “Warriors of the Undead” continues the story, with the Squadron finding the location of Rasputin and vowing to destroy him. As you can tell, this is a very serious matter.
Title track “Zeppelin” has more gallops than an opinion poll company riding on horseback. If you like your metal to be traditional, headbanging-fare and authentic, then this is really what you need. Essentially, when the twin-axe work kicks in, any clothes you are wearing will instantly transform into purest Denim. This positively demands to be played live, with all band members doing their best Live After Death central insert poses. “The Weeper” is a more subdued number, while “Destroyer of Worlds” is – rather aptly – the heaviest number on the album, with a Dehumanizer -era Sabbath feel to it. “Our Bloody Ragnarok” has more time changes in than a long-haul flight, and yet still manages to be a hummable, unforgettable track. “Angel of Mons” is a massively epic closer – and when the spoken word question is asked at the end, “Will this war never end ?”, I’m tempted to agree with the vampire’s answer – “I hope not”.
High-fantasy, high-camp and overarching stories may not be for every listener. I get that. What cannot be denied though is the sheer quality of the music here; it’s easily the match, if not better than any of the more recent albums put out by the big NWOBHM bands. If you’ve got any interest in traditional metal at all, this should be on your essential-to-listen-to list.
'Zeppelin' will be available through this site on 15 December 2023, as well as from https://metalonmetalrecords.com/