The band’s latest, Under The Burning Eclipse, sidesteps the troubles of the genre to create a fantasy-influenced approach to sonic brutality.
Stormruler is an emerging black metal band, which spawned from the shores of the murky Mississippi and the Gateway to the West, St. Louis. This American extreme metal duo features guitarist Jason Asberry and drummer Jesse Schobel.
“Stromruler is the sword that kills Yhorm The Giant in the game Dark Souls 3,” explained Asberry over a regarding the band’s name. “It’s just what we’re into and we used it for inspiration for the songs on our new record, Under the Burning Eclipse, on Napalm Records.”
With one listen to the album, the band’s obvious influence of Scandanavian black metal becomes apparent. However stylistically, artists like Dissection, Dark Funeral, and even hints of Enslaved and Amon Amarth make their way into the mix. Yet rather than indulging in the same familiar troupes of evil and Devil worship for content and imagery, Stormruler offer an alternate vision.
“We wanted to go a different direction from the whole Satanic black metal thing,” Asberry said. “Don’t get me wrong we love that stuff but it’s just been overdone. We’re not here in the city of St. Louis trying to burn down churches.”
Detailing more of the genesis of the project, Asberry explained how Stormruler was an outfit long in the making but quick to come together. “Jesse and I have known each other forever,” he said. “We are both musicians in various bands in St. Louis and we were both hired guns in this local St. Louis black metal band called Xaemora. Then after a while, we just figured why not start writing our own music? That’s really how Stormruler formed.”
As for the dynamic of being a two-piece, Asberry shared that the result was more a matter of convenience. “With just the two of us, it’s just more organized. We both write riffs and stuff. He is a drummer but also plays the keyboard. I’m also a drummer too, so two drummers being able to communicate works great for us musically. We both equally write music and lyrics.” The result is a fluid mesh of potent black metal brutality that really does tap into a classic sound, without simply rehashing the same familiar arrangements.
The new album is full of full-on blast beats and black metal that will remind fans of Watain, Gorgoroth, Satyricon, and even At the Gates, but the lyrics are all about video game mythology and literature. “We wrote the music for this album first, then the lyrics,” Asberry said. “The songs are about the stuff we love. Dark Souls is in there, and even stuff from the books on the Malazan Empire. Our new video “At the Cliffs of Azure City” is actually about Malazan Book of the Fallen.”
In much the same way the band takes liberties with the content of the genre, they don’t work within the instrumental confines of the category either. Asberry said he likes to mix it up a bit musically and not be so rigid in terms of genres. “We listen to a bit of everything, you hear some thrash death metal, and more we experiment a little and just like to have fun with it.”
While North America hasn’t earned the global reputation for black metal the way Norway or Sweden have, Asberry says there is a resurgence of the genre that is permeating stateside and becoming especially robust in places not conventionally known for the music. “I really like this black metal band from Canada called Spectral Wound, plus this band Mork Gryning from Sweden are releasing a record for the first time in many years, the same thing with Dawn from Sweden, and people are excited; there seems to be a resurgence of black metal and I love it,” he said. “In St. Louis, we do have a metal scene and it’s not bad, but there is not a huge scene of extreme metal or black metal here.”
Recently celebrating the release of their fantasy-latent, sonically slicing full length Under The Burning Eclipse on Napalm Records, the current climate of touring and live music still presents a murky outlook with regards to getting on the road and sharing the live presentation. Asberry confided that while Stormruler has no immediate touring plans, the shows are in fact, in the works. “We will do some covid friendly shows in this region, in July,” he said. “It will be a handful of shows for now, but we’re hoping that by the Fall we can do some real touring.”
One thing is for certain, the Midwest now has proper representation when it comes to uncompromising black metal in Stromruler. Under The Burning Eclipse is currently available via Napalm Records and can be ordered – HERE
Watch the band’s album release show streamed via Black Metal Promotion below.