STEEL ASSASSIN - WAR OF THE EIGHT SAINTS - SENTINEL STEEL
The fact that Steel Assassin deserves a record deal for standing by the original sounds of heavy metal after all these years notwithstanding everyone knows the band was signed by Denis and the Sentinel Steel label because its moniker contains the word 'steel', right?
That little insider tip - ahem - aside Steel Assassin is a hell of a band in 2007. Formed as early as 1982 in and near Boston the returning members have recruited singer John Falzone and have put an impressive, if uneven, album. The band’s sound might be true to metal with no concessions to grunge, alternative, rap, goth or whatever, but the material is not a cohesive set of songs streamlined by one approach. This occurrence is likely due to the band’s length of history and that, as a good guess, the songs are an accumulation of writings and collected material of over 20 years. Bringing together music that would rightly be called a mix of Riot and old and early Armored Saint the group benefits from a clear and muscular sound, on-the-ball musicianship and Falzone’s masculine, yet adaptable delivery.
The variety is never in doubt despite the overarching metal mission with Hawkwood’s catchy nature, Curse Of The Black Prince and its Loudness-like riff, the NWOBHM vibe of Hill Of Crosses, the tempo changes in Merchants Of Force, the speed metal of Tartarus and the ambitious feel of the title track standing out. The double guitar rhythm of the title track and the singer’s incessant screaming is what metal needs more of and is reminiscent of the '80s when heavy meant just that not an excuse to be as melodic as possible as is prevalent circa 2008! The band’s striking cover artwork is an extension of the group’s white metal lyrical approach. More Christians in America - who would have guessed? - Ali “The Metallian”