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Storm at Sunrise biography
STORM AT SUNRISE was an unusual progressive/hard rock band from Texas. It was founded by multi-instrumentalist Dave GRYDER (pictured left), a musician who previously played drums and sang in metal bands Morning Thunder [with future Underground Railroad guitarist Bill Pohl], Heaven's Force, and Rotting Corpse. After leaving Corpse, GRYDER started his solo career as a symphonic prog keyboardist under the moniker "Covenant" and released one album in 1992, 'Nature's Divine Reflection'. Around the turn of 2000, he created band STORM AT SUNRISE together with guitarist Ernie MYERS [previously in symphonic prog band HANDS] & bassist John CHESTERFIELD. GRYDER took on keys, drums & vocal duties and consequently STORM at SUNRISE never played concerts, becoming primarily a studio act.

The trio recorded two albums of a similar nature: 'Garden Of Forgotten Ideals'(1999) and 'The Suffering'(2001), Kiley WOLF replacing CHESTERFIELD. Their music is an atypical mix of hard organ & guitar riffing, stoner metal, and art rock solos played on true analog gear including the Hammond B3, mellotron, Moog synthesizer, electric piano & clavinet.

Chesterfield and Wolf's career paths remain unknown but after SaS split, Ernie MYERS returned to Texas art band HANDS (and also played guitar in band called Fission Trip along with past King Crimson members Ian Wallace, Mel Collins & Adrian Belew). In 2004 Dave GRYDER joined southern rock band BLOOD OF THE SUN and added many ambitious elements. He is also leader of guitar/bass/drums power trio Mad Jack McMaddd(again with his long time friend - guitarist Bill Pohl).

- ozzy_tom -

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STORM AT SUNRISE discography

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3.97 | 10 ratings
Garden Of Forgotten Ideals
4.07 | 8 ratings
The Suffering

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Suffering by STORM AT SUNRISE album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.07 | 8 ratings

The Suffering
Storm at Sunrise Heavy Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Two years after their first record, "Storm at Sunrise" prepared another high energetic hard/prog rock album called "The Suffering". Compared to previous release there is one change in band's line-up: bassist John Chesterfield was replaced by Kiley "Barney" Wolf. But did it change group's sound? Not at all! In fact they could issue this album as 2CD set together with "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals" and nobody would find a difference in style. But for sure I don't complain about their stagnation and complete lack of "progression" 'cos I received exactly what I was hoping for - bunch of enjoyable organ-driven songs, heavily rooted in classic 70s rock. Let's listen to them one by one:

1. "You Don't Know" - from the beginning we know what kind of journey is awaiting us. The album begins and "Storm at Sunrise" without any introduction starts to bang our head with heavy organ & guitar riff. Vocals are as always a bit weak but it doesn't matter, they really suit this kind of style (I know I already said it before...). This track is very fast-tempo and whole middle section is - as usual - occupied by very long, ripping organ solos, where Gryder's instrument sounds sharp as a razor. And don't forget extremely groovy Moog synthesizer solo too!

2. "Everything Sucks" - another good rocker with screaming vocal and thundering Hammond B3. Soloing section has brilliant bass-driven rhythm and organ/guitar soloing sounds perfect on such background. Near the end of the song there are some rather lame sounding radio/TV voices which announce some disasters etc., but don't skip right now 'cos after this section there is another swirling Gryder's solo!

3. "Blood On The Horizon" - one of the weakest songs here. Very repetitive bass and rhythmic organ don't help at all. Thankfully we can still enjoy good organ and wah-wah style guitar solo.

4. "Cycle Of Misery" - much better composition than the previous one. Groovy, stomping rhythm and passionate vocal delivery followed by hard rock guitar solo. But the best starts from 2:45 minute when tempo suddenly changes and band plays Gothic/horror-like motif with extremely dark, distorted organ and loud mellotron eruptions. This thrilling part is followed by catharsis guitar and organ solos. One of the most "prog" tracks on "The Suffering".

5. "There I Said It" - sounds like generic hard rock a la Deep Purple in their weakest, uninspired days. It's the shortest song but fortunately Gryder and Myers had enough time to deliver couple of good solos here. (Song finishes very sudden so don't be surprised)

6. "Man, That's A Drag" - this one starts with atmospheric, calm acoustic guitar/mellotron intro. Really unexpected beginning. But after 1 minute they come back to their trademark organ/guitar bashing. Fully enjoyable track with rather catchy melody and above standard Hammond and guitar soloing. Doesn't drag even a little :-).

7. "Timewarp" - the only real instrumental composition performed by "Storm At Sunrise"(I don't count 1 minute "Introduction" from their debut). Really fantastic piece of music. Gryder's swirling organ solos, Myers heavy electric guitar support and Wolf's bass work are phenomenal here. You can feel that they had real fun while recording this staff. I also love proggy Moog solo here!

8. "Closure" - good, standard heavy prog track with a bit repetitive bass lines. Splendid organ/guitar interludes in the middle. Sounds like Lord and Blackmore in their highdays.

9. "The 'I Hate The Blues' Blues" - surely it isn't blues. And by the way why they would play blues...if the hate it?! Anyway it's okayish hard rock song with some crazy Hammond and guitar solos.

10. "Victims Of The Status Quo" - I don't like the beginning too much. Too fast, repetitive guitar and over-screamed Gryder's voice. I like when around 2 minute tempo changes and we can enjoy very good Hammond/guitar interludes. In the end Dave presents ultra fast jazzy organ solo and he sound like Jimmy Smith/Larry Young hybrid after overuse of hallucinogen mushrooms! (Oh man, what a metaphor ;-)

11. "Woman" - this song is more in the late 60' psychedelic pop/rock vain. Rather catchy and straightforward staff. Fine, blistering B3 solo in the end.

12. "The Suffering" - and finally we have truly progressive epic - more than 14 minutes long titled composition full of 70s prog trademarks. It begins with nearly 2 minutes long mellow intro with acoustic guitar and flute sounds produced on Dave's mighty mellotron. Then whole band explodes with bombastic Hammond and guitar battles based on Kiley's machine-like, fat bass tones. After that we have short vocal section followed by sudden tempo change, heavy guitar solo spot and rising of doom-metal like atmosphere with scary mellotron eruptions. Another mood change and we're in the middle of Hammond organ orgasmic soloing, where Gryder truly goes mad. This guy really reminds me Vincent Crane a lot. About 11 minute this great keyboard player entertains us again with splendid mellotron waves. As a coda to this suite we're surprised with melancholic Grand piano/acoustic guitar/mellotron closing section.

To sum up: last recording of "Storm At Sunrise" is a very enjoyable effort. Just like their debut album I highly recommend it to all classic hard rock and prog rock fans of such bands as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Birth Control, Led Zeppelin, Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, Bloodrock and Frumpy. You can expect non-stop orgy of roaring electric organs (just like in their previous record, every song has minimum one Hammond solo!), thundering guitars, stomping drums and groovy bass lines. If you like such staff, I also recommend (Just like in my review of their 1st album) such retro-prog bands: BigElf, Wicked Minds, Black Bonzo, Cosmic Nomads, Standarte, The Divine Baze Orchestra, The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, Darediablo, Spiritual Beggars, Hammers of Misfortune, Archangel, Mikromidas, Siena Root, Blood Of The Sun (this one with Dave Gryder on organ duties) and many others.

Without doubt it's another 4,5 stars record for me.

 Garden Of Forgotten Ideals by STORM AT SUNRISE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.97 | 10 ratings

Garden Of Forgotten Ideals
Storm at Sunrise Heavy Prog

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Storm at Sunrise showed sheer, full power in their debut album "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals"! And don't be afraid that band's leader - Dave Gryder - started career as drummer/vocalist in trash metal bands like Heaven's Force & Rotting Corpse. It was long time ago and he didn't waste these years, but he learned how to handle keyboard instruments and even recorded one solo album (under moniker "Covenant") full of '70s inspired instrumental symphonic prog. We can't also forget about guitarist Ernie Myers who started career path in the late seventies in art rock band "Hands" (where he came back after Storm at Sunrise was disbanded by the way).

However this album (and the 2nd one as well) isn't similar to anything Gryder recorded in the past. Compared with "Covenant" music is less complicated, more lively, enthusiastic & ..."groovy". We can still listen to a wide range of vintage keyboards, but this time they are played more in heavy prog/hard rock fashion with only few symphonic tendencies (mostly presented by occasional mellotron out-bursts) and in general Hammond B3 keeps dominant role throughout the album. Compared with Gryder's past in Christian (?!) trash metal group "Heaven's Force", his voice sounds better...but still can be too "controversial" for lovers of more sophisticated kind of prog. In fact his voice seems to be more suitable for stoner rock band, ...but who cares?! You'll find enough organ/guitar mean riffs, endless soloing and interplays that would make happy any prog & hard rock freak!

Let's check the songs one by one:

1. "Intro" - record starts very unusual with very soft mellotron waves which imitate flute sounds, simple acoustic guitar licks and background birds' voices. Welcome in the Garden Of Forgotten Ideals!

2. "Jaded" - Boom! Real beginning of the album. Myers and Gryder hit us in the head with powerful guitar/organ interplays. After a while vocals come in and...we have to start become accustom to Dave's voice which is - as I previously said - a bit "controversial", very harsh, sometimes out-of-key and bar-like, but after a while you will really like it, besides it doesn't sound completely out of place here. Anyway song is a fast-rocker with thunderous organ & guitar soloing. I also love when before 5th minute keyboard player changes the mood by atmospheric mellotron waves on which based are tasteful electric guitar solos.

3. "Ageless" - another fast rocker with restless Hammond and guitar attacks. I really like this short moment in the middle where music suddenly stops and after a second massive organ solo fade-in from the background. Near the end of the track we can also admire - for the first time on this album - Dave's Moog synthesizer's skills. His solo is really great, and doesn't let us forget that it's something more than only 70' oriented hard rock band, that Storm at Sunrise member have real ambitions towards progressive rock territory. Good old pal Rick Wakeman would be proud of this Moog solo spot I suppose.

4. "Moonrock" - song begin with cathedral-like organ waves, but after half a minute guys kick in again with mean hard rock tune. Unfortunately we can already realize the biggest problem of "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals", songs are too similar to each other. Seems to be created on the same pattern: fast tempo, loud organ chops, supportive electric guitar & bass rhythms followed by extended organ/guitar interplays. But man, they do it really good! You can feel spirit of golden era of prog and hard rock in their compositions. And the most important: most of the tracks hide some surprises and unexpected signature changes, which don't let us become bored at all. For example I love middle part of "Moonrock" with jazzy percussion and beautiful Fender Rhodes piano. Sounds like taken straight from "Riders on Storm"! Also closing Hammond solos are breathtaking. The only complaint is the bassist who plays the same line over and over again during Dave's aforementioned show-off in the second part of the song.

5. "Heavy Rock Revival" - another mid/fast tempo rock'n'roll with - something I started to call - calm screaming (a bit like vocalist try to scream in high register...but he's completely incapable of...). Style of the song is similar to the previous ones. It sounds like Jon Lord or Ken Hensley would become a member of Texas hard rock/southern rock band, but in the same time decided that he will be the leader and throw-in many elements of more ambitious music. I like it...but why bassist has to play the same line all over again 90% of time is beyond me...

6. "No Good For One" - this one is a bit different. It's more mid-tempo track with interesting, "broken" rhythms. I really like when in middle part of the song Gryder starts to play clavinet which fanatically support his organ excesses.

7. "Hellspawn" - this song is another fast rocker which wants to crash your skull with mean Hammond chops and killing guitar riffs. However the most enjoyable is last minute of "Hellspawn", when Dave & Co create truly horror-like atmosphere with Gothic organ, sparkling acoustic piano and - the most important - loud mellotron waves which can bring real shivers.

8. "Top Heavy" - the shortest & simplest song. Typical hard rock in the vain of Deep Purple Mark II. But Dave Gryder isn't Ian Gillan... Song finishes with short moaning of some woman...

9. "Morning Sun" - one of the longest songs in this album brings another portion of dirty organ chops, gritty electric guitar squeaks & furious drum beats. I like very much second part of the song with more atmospheric Hammond soloing with nice piano in the background. A bit Procol Harum alike.

10. "Pussy Cat" - another decent rock'n'roll piece with thundering drums. Organ/guitar interludes will blast your brain for sure.

11. "I Just Want to Celebrate" - my favorite song of this band! In fact I wasn't so surprised when I later found out...that's old '70 song originally performed by American psych/soul band "Rare Earth". It only support my theory that guys from Storm at Sunrise are much better musicians than song writers. Anyway "I Just Want to Celebrate" has ultimately catchy rhythm & melody (bouncy?), and if you didn't tap your foot along with the music so far, you'll surely do it now. Even Dave's voice seems to be the best here and bass player shows that he can provide truly suitable lines.

12. "From Cradle to Grave" - and here comes "the epic" of the album. Only 8:34 minutes but it's truly the Magnum Opus of "Garden Of Forgotten Ideals". It starts as a typical (proggy) hard/stoner rock, but from 4th minutes real fan begin! At first mad organ solo, next comes Led Zeppelin influenced guitar solo followed by my favorite fragment: great melodic mellotron waves which can easily remind early King Crimson staff. After that short, chaotic drum solo and another electric guitar attack. Bu it's not the end 'cos Dave prepared "cosmic" Moog synthesizer solo which is followed by another mellotron entrance. Whole album finishes with beautiful waves of this fantastic instrument.

To sum of everything: Storm at Sunrise on their debut album provides us satisfactory amount of non-stopping gritty Hammond organ blasting (absolutely every song on this record include organ solo!), electric guitar riffing and decent drum work. It's a true gem for all fans of '70 hard rock & heavy prog (Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Birth Control, Led Zeppelin, Atomic Rooster, Black Sabbath, Bloodrock, Frumpy), and young stoner metal lovers will also find something to enjoy here.

If you like this music, you should also check 2nd album of this formation - "The Suffering" - which include "more of the same". Another must have for you is band called "Blood of The Sun" which features the same organist (but he doesn't sing and play drums there). Other new bands with similar retro heavy-prog style: BigElf, Wicked Minds, Black Bonzo, Cosmic Nomads, Standarte, The Divine Baze Orchestra, The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, Darediablo, Spiritual Beggars, Hammers of Misfortune, Archangel, Mikromidas, Siena Root and many others.

For me easily 4,5 stars, 'cos I really enjoyed this album.

Thanks to atavachron for the artist addition.

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