Starwolf Part 2: Novastorm


Francis Blake, singer for MESSENGER has a truly remarkable set of pipes. His big, booming […]
By Tim Bolitho-Jones
January 7, 2016
Messenger - Starwolf Part 2: Novastorm album cover

Francis Blake, singer for MESSENGER has a truly remarkable set of pipes. His big, booming vocals are powerful enough to startle Brian Blessed and are the main selling point for "Starwolf Part 2: Novastorm," a huge album of pure German Power Metal. He makes a convincing case for being one of the genre's great underdogs based on his performance here and turns these ten songs into colossal anthems, all designed to be belted out by thousands of people at Wacken Open Air.

But MESSENGER are not a one-man show and there's a lot of impressive musicianship to be found on "Starwolf Part 2," even if Blake is the obvious focal point. The guitar work is top notch throughout and the rhythm section is tighter than the UK's flood prevention budget, but most importantly they all work together perfectly. MESSENGER are a band with serious musical chops but they don't show off for the sake of it and the focus is always on writing the best song possible.

And for nine tenths of the running time they succeed. "Novastorm" is the kind of over-the-top Power Metal that makes you want to belt the chorus out the window at passers-by, "Captain's Loot" is oiled up, muscular cheese par excellence and "Warrior's Ride" is old-fashioned Speed Metal that could make a pub feel like an arena. Hell, even the semi-ballad "Frozen" is good and mercifully for parents everywhere, even though it has nothing to do with the film of the same name.

The only real weak link is the uninspiring "Wild Dolly." It's not that it's a bad track as it still has some decent riffs and gang vocals, it just has the air of a discarded ACCEPT song and they don't fire on all cylinders like they do elsewhere. Thankfully it's soon followed by the excellent "Fortress Of Freedom" which ends the album on a soaring high.

True, the fashion-conscious Metal fan will most likely turn their nose up at MESSENGER (especially when they spot all the leather) but the simple truth is that this is an awesome record. It's ten tracks of gloriously overdone, pompous melodrama bursting with top notch musicianship, huge choruses and damn proud too. There are no concessions to current trends and they've got one of the best singers you've never heard of.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

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"Starwolf Part 2: Novastorm" Track-listing:

1. Sword Of The Stars
2. Privateer's Hymn
3. Wings Of Destiny
4. Frozen
5. Novastorm
6. Pleasure Synth
7. Captain's Loot
8. Warrior's Ride
9. Wild Dolly
10. Fortress Of Freedom

Messenger Lineup:

Francis Blake - Vocals
Merlin - Drums
Chainmaster - Guitars
Dr. H.R. Strauss - Bass
Pyro Jack - Guitars

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