Stallion – Slaves Of Time Review

When I was a kid just delving into heavy metal, I used to stand in the record store, parked in front of the metal section, and flip through the records and wish I had every single one. (I still do this, now in my forties with thirty years of experience, but I used to do it, too.) This would’ve been the late 80s, so those records had all means of menacing covers, and I just knew that vast amounts of hard-rockin’ and hard-riffin’ greatness lay behind those snappy band logos. Back then, those logos said Raven, Exciter, Accept, Helloween, Loudness, the very same catalogs I find myself seeking out decades later…

Stallion wasn’t one of those bands whose works I coveted back then.

But they do sound like one.

Release date: February 28, 2020. Label: High Roller.
Born in Germany in 2013, Stallion is part of the new wave of traditional bands who are doing their damnedest to recreate the sounds of Ye Olden Tymes, your Enforcers, your Strikers, your Cauldrons, and so on. So, of course, a listener’s appreciation for even the best of what they do is tempered against her or his ability to turn off the “been there, heard that” sentiment that’s too easily applied to these types of retro-minded outfits. Yes, you’ve heard speed metal with rough-edged falsettos many times before… but that doesn’t mean Stallion isn’t pretty good at it.

Taking their cues from the bands I saw in that record store so long ago, Stallion gallops back and forth across the 80s, dancing between a vaguely sleazy NWOBHM-styled hard rock and Exciter-ing speed metal, the whole of it filled with Axxl and Clode’s riffs running wild and Pauly’s love-it-or-hate-it yelp. As is the case with Hell Hofer in the similar-sounding Bullet, Pauly’s voice is the most prominent, distinctive, and divisive factor in Stallion’s sound. When he keeps to his midrange, he’s got a pretty potent gravelly bite, but when he leaps into the falsetto register — which is the vast majority of the time, sometimes even preceded by a Jim Gillette-style swooping build-up — he loses some control and his shriek balances precariously on the line between lovable homage and wink-wink pisstake.

The occasionally wobbly warbling aside, there are still enough hooks in the likes of “Brain Dead” or the blistering “No Mercy” or the relentless “Kill The Beast” to overcome the decidedly borrowed nature of the sound. The only stumbling point in Slaves Of Time’s 42 minutes is the ballad “Die With Me” — but let’s be honest: You aren’t listening to 80s-styled trad / speed metal for the ballads… are you?

Though I rarely reach for this kind of thing — I have been there and heard that, after all — the fact remains that Stallion is a fun band, with some solid songs across three full-lengths. They aren’t breaking any new ground — they aren’t trying to, either — and it’s hard to tell if this type of thing is serious or just the next generation of metallers poking fun at the undeniable silliness of the 80s sound and look. Or hell, maybe it’s both… The kids these days…

Old or new, borrowed or true, Slaves Of Time rocks when it rocks, and if you can tolerate the unpolished edges on the screams, it’s enjoyable enough. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to track down a few more Raven albums…

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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