Italy’s comeback into the Metal scene started about 10 years ago by the resurgence of Power Metal and especially a highly melodic, bombastic and fast variant of it, which turned loose a wave of absolutely identically sounding bands, but in the end kicked the whole scene back into motion again and now is producing acts from all kinds of sub-genres of Metal. ICY STEEL is the first band from Sardinia that I hear, from Sassari to be exact, and they definitely walk one of the lesser trodden paths.
The quartet does not follow in the footsteps of the RHAPSODYs, LABYRINTHs or SKYLARKs, but rather can be found in the vicinity of a bit more obscure acts such as DOOMSWORD, for example, so more on the epic, but unbombastic, rather Doom influenced side of the Metal stream. And with this they definitely fit into the roster of German Pure Steel Records label, which seems to have a knack for these non-mainstream sounds, as proved in the past with acts such as CRYSTAL TEARS or FATAL EMBRACE. In any way, ICY STEEL definitely are not fit for everyone, especially if you rather like it a bit more polished…
After the bombastic intro “Riding To The Battle” the Sardinians show where the hammer hangs, slow, with a bell tolling, and Stefano Galeano’s a bit rougher mid-pitched voice over it, this is not the sound that will sell millions, no matter how high the quality of the material, so no “playing it safe” here. It is clear that the guys don’t really give much of a damn about the modern trends of Metal and surrounding areas, but know exactly, where they are taking their inspirations from, epic Doom such as CANDLEMASS and some traditional Heavy Metal heroes from the Eighties, who does not feel attracted to this definition right here probably will not find much appeal in the song material contained either.
No matter if slightly epic and heavy as on “Spatial Dinasty” or the full epic widescreen epos of “Wind Of War”, mostly instrumental (and again epic) like “Secret Of Rune”, “I See Steel”, Doomy like “Corrupted King” or dynamic and swift as closing “Pandemonic Ride (The Last March)”, ICY STEEL are not high-gloss Metal, but these guys eat, breathe and shit Metal, with all their heart and it shows.
This is Metal with character, love it or hate it.
(Online March 29, 2007)