Stormtrooper – “Pride Before A Fall (The Lost Album)” (Bristol Archive Records)
Often mentioned in whispers owing to bassist Colin Bond from Stampede and Jaguar vocalist Paul Merrill once being in its ranks, Stormtrooper were a short lived mid 70s band from Bristol. Shame really, cos Stormtrooper, as judged by the fact that its members went onto bigger things, could really play and showed a technical prowess uncommon at the time, hence why their only release – the ‘Pride’ single – reached No 23 in the Sounds HM chart. With all this going for them I’m not sure why they folded but what is less known is that they actually recorded – often in single takes live in the studio – a slew of songs that now after 40 years, finally see’s the light of day! Although associated with NWOBHM, Stormtrooper were a true 70s band, heavily influenced by Rush as evidenced by Bond’s Rickenbacker bass run through Taurus Pedals (remember them?) as well as his liberal use of the Moog. Backed by Bob Starling’s guitar that owed more than a nod to Alex Lifeson and Paul Merrill hitting the Geddy Lee quirky highs on the 9 minute ‘After Battle’, most of the 9 nine tracks including ‘Drunken Women’ and ‘Confusion’ follow suite, even if shorter. Still, ‘Pride Before A Fall’ shows the band open with a melodic hard rock boogie track that allows drummer Nick Hancox to use his muscles while ‘If It Takes A Man A Week To Walk’ definitely headbangs its way into full proto metal along with Hancox actually speed pedaling (even if its on one bass drum) and some wild guitar from Starling. My fave track had to be the brimming with sass n swank Tygers of Pan Tang like ‘In The State In The City’ with its razor rock riffing contrasting superbly with Merrill’s wailing soul to bring hard rock heaven once again unto us. Most of all, thanks to the quality of the time resistant recordings, this isn’t a cashed in album of rusted raw demos but bona fide archives that over 4 decades later both the band members and fans can be truly proud of!