After a short, meandering introduction, ‘Hung, Drawn And Quartered’ gallops through to the finish, accented by guitar flourishes and gang backing vocals (particularly the titular chorus). Sure to be a new live staple, complete with Tornillo pantomimed re-enactments. The title cut (“whoa, whoa”) is just one of many war themes, including blaring siren begun ‘Hellfire’, ‘Shadow Soldiers’ and seemingly ‘Against The World’, which is actually a rallying cry for the metal audience. ‘Fast To Bang Time’ rips, with the occasional, almost a cappella Tornillo spoken break. The aforementioned ‘Shadow Soldier’ begins acoustically, threatening to become a full-blown ballad, ala ‘Seawinds’ or ‘Winterdreams’, although the gritty military cadence prevents it, instead coming across as a slightly more lively ‘Kill The Pain’, off the last album. ‘The Quick & The Dead’ second only to ‘Flash To Bang Time’ is the speed category, is rift with riffs, plenty of Hoff histrionics, yet also gives Baltes a few bars to strut his stuff. A gong? Sure enough, ‘The Galley’ closer kicks off with a crescendo capped by the long lost 70s percussion instrument. A 1:40 instrumental coda follows, gradually fading out to finish the album.
To parallel their earlier career, if Blood Of The Nations, with it’s speedy anthems like ‘No Shelter’ and ‘Beat The Bastards’ was this incarnation’s Restless & Wild, then Stalingrad is their Metal Heart: a mid-paced, more varied, song oriented approach. Can’t wait to hear how some of these translate on the live stage!