German traditional metallers Stallion are back with their third full-length album Slaves of Time, a record which blends the genres and takes you right back to the old school.
Slaves of Time boasts an enhanced production quality that takes things up a notch from earlier releases Rise and Ride (2014) and From the Dead (2017). Though the record was also produced and engineered by Stallion themselves, Marco Brinkmann (Hellforge Studio) was brought into the studio to work on the mix. In perfect balance to the shrill vocal style, a rich guitar tone creates a depth and fullness that is easy on the ears whilst not losing any of the detail.
Opening track ‘Waking The Demons’ eases you into the record rather than smacking you in the face from the outset, with a gradual intro building up to characteristic hard-hitting riffs and vocalist Pauly’s grinding vocals belting out a catchy chorus that has you singing along from the first play. ‘No Mercy’ takes a thrashier tone, chugging guitars and rapid percussion from drummer Aaron creating a perfect blend of sound, with a simple but effective chorus to top things off.
‘Time To Reload‘ brings the tempo down and actually leans more to the glam metal sound of bands like Quiet Riot for a different tone. Stallion surprise you yet again with the bluesy riffs of ‘All In’, which are unlike anything else on the record. Initially a slower track, a dramatic change of pace midway through creates a thrashing second half of the song.
‘Brain Dead’ plunges you straight into the deep end with old school thrash and is not shy about doing so. Slaves of Time marks Bassist Stämpfe’s studio debut, and his intro here leads into epic, soaring vocals and a track reminiscent of Exodus’ Bonded By Blood but with a powerful flair. Complex solos from guitarists Clode and Äxxl create a full, explosive track that isn’t missing a thing.
Taking things down a notch massively, ‘Die With Me’ is an unusual love song that wouldn’t be out of place on a cassette of 80s ballads, that is until you hear the grinding vocals, similar to Swedish-rockers Bullet, but always uncompromisingly Stallion. “It felt right and came about quite naturally, so we’re very much looking forward to the reactions of the people on this one”, comments frontman Pauly on the 7-minute epic.
Stallion don’t let things slow down for too long, however, as ‘Merchants of Fear‘ and ‘Dynamiter’ take us straight back up the explosive energy you come to expect from this band. ‘Kill The Beast’, released as a single in 2019, and final track ‘Meltdown’ could easily be something Judas Priest had written. Hard-hitting and unrelentingly Stallion, soaring vocals and killer riffs are energetic to the last.
The strongest Stallion record yet, Slaves of Time uses powerful songwriting and enhanced production quality to create a unique old school sound. Thrash meets glam meets Judas Priest’s Painkiller might not seem like a typical combination, but these guys certainly pull it off exceptionally well.