2014 might as well turn out to be the year of the Stallion. They are one of the most promising up and coming traditional heavy metal bands from Germany. The re-issue of their debut mini-album »Mounting The World« via High Roller Records sold out in no time. Earlier in the year, the band took the prestigeous Keep It True festival by storm. “Playing Keep It True, standing on this very stage in front of this legendary backdrop was a dream come true for me,” says guitarist Äxl. “Paul and me have attended this festival for such a long time as fans. Now being able to play there with Stallion was just unbelievable. The audience at Keep It True is very special, they support each and every band. Even when the opening act comes up on stage, people are already there banging their heads and singing along.”
And now it is time for Stallion's first longplay album... The ten songs on »Rise And Ride« carry on where Stallion have left off with »Mounting The World«. Due to popular demand, the band has re-recorded two old numbers, namely “The Right One” as well as the fans' favourite “Canadian Steele”. Äxl explains: “Well, yes, our fans have demanded that, really. And, to be honest, after such a long time, I still do love the song 'Canadian Steele', which is a good sign, isn't it? It was not set out to become a hymn. Our fans made it a hymn and I am very grateful for that. You have to bear in mind that the success of Stallion did not come over night. I have been sharing a flat with Paul for years. We had been waiting until we felt everything was just the way we wanted it. There's a couple of very catchy numbers on »Rise And Ride« as well but I am of the opinion that only fans can turn a song into an anthem. Let's wait and see what happens.”
The title track “Rise And Ride” is quite an epic number, “Wooden Horse” will turn a few heads as well with its Spanish-flavoured bridge. “Stigmatized” is the hardest song on the album. All in all, »Rise And Ride« again offers a well-balanced mixture of Speed Metal, Hard Rock and a bit of Thrash. It's a much more rounded effort in comparism to the debut mini-album, which was a collaboration of Äxl and Paul (who shared all the instruments). Nowadays, Stallion is a full-fledged band consisting of: Pauly (vocals), Äxl (guitar), Oli G. (guitar), Nicki "Schnicki" (bass) and Aaron (drums). Äxl takes over the story: “Well, yes, »Rise And Ride« is very much a group effort. We have a constant line up now. And all the new members fit in very well. Their musical tastes are as broad as Paul's and mine. There are too many Metal hearts beating in our body for limiting our style and just playing one style of Metal music. It's the mixture of different influences that makes Stallion great. Take a song like 'Watch Out' from the new album for example. The new guys have contributed a lot of intricate parts to this number, which Paul and me would not have thought of, really. We are really proud of our new songs.”
If you look at successful German bands like The Scorpions, Accept or even Helloween (with their Wagnerian pomp), they all had this kind of “Teutonic” flair going for them in one form or the other. So is Stallion “Teutonic” in any shape or form? Äxl reflects: “That's a difficult question to answer. As I said, our influences are really broad. There are bound to be some German bands we have been influenced by, like Running Wild, Accept or Warrant. But we are surely not striving to sound German or 'Teutonic' per se. It's got to be fitting the actual song. And if that song in question sounds 'Teutonic', then that's okay with us. I do not have a problem with that at all.”
On their debut mini-album »Mounting The World« Stallion covered “Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll” by Rock Goddess. There's no cover tune on the new album but the band surely plays a few more covers in their practice room, as Äxl explains: “Yeah, it's fun. We wanted to concentrate on our own material for the new album, so we didn't really have time to play too many covers lately. We tried 'Out In The Streets' by Atlain. And we did 'Flame Of The Show' by the German Warrant. Not a lot of people know of this song as it was only included on a re-issue but in my book it's one of the greatest Speed Metal anthems ever written. That's why we are planning to record it for the B-Side of our next 7” single. This song really deserves to be heard by more people.”
Stallion already have a solid local fan base here in Germany and with their first album »Rise And Ride« and a long list of live dates later this year (including a full-blown European tour in autumn supporting Bullet and Striker), there's surely no stopping them in 2014!
|HRR 389 CD