Remarkably, it’s seven years since German power metallers Winterstorm graced our ears. Then, the band were riding the crest of a wave on the back of an album, Cube of Infinity, that seemed to herald big things for the Bayreuthian bruisers. Then… silence. Such id life, as they say.

Still they are back now and, save for the addition of new guitarist Jochen Windisch (who replaced Tobi Loden a couple of years back), nothing much appears to have changed. The band still deal in powerful, impressively put together metal; Fate of the Atlanteans, for instance, tucked away here at track eight, is easily as good as anything the band has brought before us before – and it’s not even the best thing here. A classy, sleek mix of muscle and melody, it highlights Alexander Schirmer‘s vocal prowess in the very best light, and manages to bang more than a few heads along the way. What’s not to love?

In fact Schirmer has never sounded better. Throughout the album he leads with confidence, with a pleasing epic feel aided by a little grit in his tone that gives him a distinct air of Savatage man Zachary Stevens in his pomp; This adds real class and substance to brooding numbers like the complex and very progressive Silence or standout cut Crusade, and, when the man fires on all six backed by the squalling guitars of Windisch and Michael Liewald (who also produced the album superbly), as he does here, you still get the sense that, big hiatus notwithstanding, some sort of ‘big time’ is still not beyond Winterstorm’s grasp.

Star performances are all well and good, of course, but great albums are always team efforts and the engine room of Jonas Hack (drums) and bassist Peter Cerveny play their parts to the full to ensure that Everfrost is a thoroughly watertight exposition of the power metal arts. There aren’t any weak spots here, and hopefully the band can use this album as a stepping stone to the success their talent clearly deserves.

Everfrost releases on July 14th.