Stormtrooper are one of the many just pre-new-wave-of-British-heavy-metal bands who didn’t make it anywhere near the heights of Iron Maiden and Saxon, but what this record shows is that they meant business nonetheless. The record, the full name of which being Pride Before A Fall (The Lost Album), is an album recorded by the band in their prime in the late 70s/early 80s and was lost until found on tapes recently and transported to digital.
The vocal style is very much reminiscent of the scene in which the band resided. Unlike some other bands of the era though, the diction is fully recognisable and the lyrics are clear. The style is much the same as their other releases, and Paul Merrell’s voice changed little through their shortlived career. The best example of the vocals at full stretch is in title track Pride Before A Fall, where Merrell hits highs and lows that demonstrate his excellent range. The lyrics are also well written, using themes of all sorts of matters from the stereotypical alcohol and women to the struggles of humanity and how they are overcome.
The instrumentals are solid throughout, providing a good grounding for the vocals. Bob Starling’s riffs never fail to impress, with energy and pace fuelling his neat yet overdriven tones which remain treble-filled throughout. A key feature and one that denotes the time of the recording is the bass. The mix holds the basslines in high volume in a style that is hardly used in the modern market, and the tone itself has had the bass turned down and treble up to give that distinctive crunchy classic metal feeling to it. All of the tracks are brought together by the drums as the hard-played nature of them fuels the fire of the rest of the band to create a raucus and youthful punch throughout.
In addition, synths are present strongly the whole way through, and are used to an extent that shows they were clearly a novel idea. Even at the start of the record, there are not-so-subtle undertones of the electronic influence as they play slightly unnecessarily over the verse of the title track and this continues throughout the record.
The standout tracks are the title track for its substance and punchiness, and the 12 minute epic Battle Of The Eve for its ongoing variants of repeated melodies and its grandeur through the near-quarter-hour.
Overall, a record that brings to question how Stormtrooper didn’t make it far bigger than they did. Pride Before A Fall is a typical, well-written NWOBHM full-length with a charm to it of being lesser-known and perhaps the band will get the recognition they deserved then now after this look back to their prime. Unfortunately though, in this day and age, it’s expected for a digitalised version of a lost tape to feel dated and that is exactly what pride Before A Fall sounds, as unfortunate as it is.