“This strange age, which imposes its ways on us and politically splits up society into different factions, is hard on everybody. While this makes us the slaves of our time, this metaphor sounds more passive than it is meant. We have to hold out, don’t give in to fear and hatred -kill fascism!” Clear statements such as these are generally what Stallion’s Paul likes to make, and the group’s new album is just another one.
Founded in 2013 these German speed dealers took the traditional blue-collar route, releasing one demo, two EPs and two full-lengths while sweating off their afterwork beers on club and festival stages throughout Europe. Now with “Slaves of Time,” they achieved the almost impossible by topping 2017’s “From the Dead” both musically and lyrically.
After refining the songs during prolonged rehearsals, the band took special care during tracking, with drummer Aaron recording his parts at Woodshed Studios with V. Santura (Triptykon, Dark Fortress, etc.). Mixing the material was up to Marco Brinkmann at Hellforge, which was “absolutely worth it” according to Paul. “We never sounded that good if you ask me!”
One tends to agree listening to the anthemic double of ‘Time to Reload’ and ‘Meltdown’, barnstormers that come across like balloon-size balls-to-the-wall Accept on steroids. The former is “a typical ode to the road,” explains the singer. “It deals with touring and living on the fast lane whereas the other one expresses our love for Friday night metal discos. They used to be the sole highlight of our drab lives at one point.”
Apart from these light-hearted exceptions to the rule, “Slaves of Time” is an overall serious affair, especially regarding ‘No Mercy, ‘Brain Dead’ and ‘Merchants of Fear,’ the album’s threefold peak of intensity. “Since there is no title track, we wanted to sum up several songs in the artwork, and these were our choice. ‘No Mercy’ might be our strongest rallying cry to date against society’s unworthy swing to the right while ‘Brain Dead’ depicts what 24-7 exposure to the media can do to your psyche. ‘Merchants of Fear’ are those who use apprehension as a weapon to justify curbing our freedom and to sow dissent.”
Contrarily, the five-piece itself has become a true unit prior to the album. “It’s the debut of two new stallions”, the front man reveals. “Stämpfe took over the bass after our last release, Clode was added on guitar shortly before this one, and we couldn’t be happier with their contributions.” So it is maybe the four-stringer who added a slight Motörhead-touch to ‘Dynamiter’?
“Maybe,” Paul concedes, “because his instrument for sure takes on a prominent role.” With its subject – Ernest Hemmingway’s famed resister Robert Jordan from “For Whom the Bell Tolls” –, the track summarily reflects Stallions persistently insurgent attitude.
“We are not necessarily political, but definitely socio-critical,” the shouter stresses. Fighting totalitarian tendencies and exploitation of human as well as natural resources is not just a leftist agenda but imperative for everybody if we want to survive as a species …”
Having said that, Stallion pick up the gauntlet and – seemingly just like that – throw it down not only to all the tyrants out there; in fact, “Slaves of Time” challenges anybody who wants to have a say in contemporary metal.