You probably won’t have heard of USA Power Metallers STEEL ASSASSIN. Although they’ve been around for twenty-five years this, remarkably, is their first album. And you know what? ‘’War Of The Eight Saints’’ is more than worth the wait. If you are fan of MAIDEN, CRIMSON GLORY, METAL CHURCH, ARMORED SAINT, JAG PANZER, PHARAOH and HELLOWEEN, then STEEL ASSASSIN is for you.
‘’War Of The Eight Saints’’ will dip under the radar for most Metal Heads but if you, like me, crave the anthemic sounds of True Heavy Metal then STEEL ASSASSIN will become a firm favourite.
Formed in Boston in the early 80’s success was sought and cemented but the restrictive machinations of the Metal scene was becoming problematic and a split was inevitable. By 1985 it was all over bar demo releases and well received live shows. 1988 gave fresh impetus but again that coming together failed and it took to 2005 that STEEL ASSASSIN re-grouped with new vocalist John Falzone at the helm.
And with Falzone STEEL ASSASSIN has found a vocalist in the John Bush/ Harry Conklin range he gifts the band with power, guile and presence, exactly what you need to front a Heavy Metal band.
And STEEL ASSASSIN plays Metal like their lives depend on it. From the opening rampage of ‘’Hawkwood’’, through ‘’Curse Of The Black Prince’’, to ‘’Barabbas’’ this is duelling guitars, rumbling bass lines, impassioned vocals and smashing drums that all constitute a master class in Heavy Metal. It’s epic, anthemic and totally overpowering. If you can’t get excited by the class of ‘’Curse Of The Black Prince’’ or the silky guitar hooks of ‘’Hill of Crosses’’, then you’ve given up your Metal soul. It’s easy to get carried away with the likes of ‘’Merchants Of Force’’ and the supreme Metal majesty of the twin axe intro into the excellent ‘’Bloodlust Quest’’, and it all comes together on the truly epic title track encompassing their rich Metal heritage driven sounds. ‘’War Of The Eight Saints’’ can be rightly heralded as a classic.
STEEL ASSASSIN ticks all the right boxes when it comes to true Heavy Metal. They have an unyielding spirit, devotion, passion and bucket loads of class. Let’s hope it’s not another quarter of a century before they release a follow up.
(Online November 3, 2007)