So STEEL ATTACK made it out of the Cheesy-Dragon-Slayer-Fantasy-Power-Metal style and actually grew up to become a massive Heavy Metal tank. I quickly lost interesting in this band after “Where Mankind Fails” had indeed failed to do anything to satisfy my hunger for Melodic Power Metal. It’s been a struggle to get where they are now, I’m browsing through the band’s bio to learn they seem to have gone through what must be a hundred line-up changes but somehow they never lost faith and have been able to complete a new record with an almost revamped band formation.
STEEL ATTACK anno 2004 belongs to a group of Power Metal bands who have the tendency to be heavier than your ordinary type of Power Metal riffing. They’re far too aggressive to be standard Melodic Power Metal, a dozen riffs cross into Thrash Metal and even Death Metal territories and new singer Ronny Hemlin has a handful of growls lined up for heart pumping tracks like “Immortal Hate” and “Son Of A Thousand Souls”. I like this new voice much more than the one I heard on the debut, it has more class and the harmonies are cleaner. The hooks lie in the choruses as usual, very catchy stuff without sounding too happy, these are Heavy Metal choruses the way they are to be in this genre.
“Enslaved” is one big Metal attack; there are no ballads or any remotely slow paced songs to be found, which might become a problem for some people. I mean sure it’s well executed and not that bad but I personally think that forty five minutes of fast Power Metal without enough variation is one dimensional and boring.
I did in fact just claim the band as an out of the ordinary Power Metal experience, yes, but not in musical context. Just because you’re heavier than many of your colleagues doesn’t mean you sound fresh when you don’t have anything interesting to show. There’s nothing new here, the only variations are the growls and “heavier than normal” approach; there’s always going to be a pre solo section before the actual real solo feast, there’s always going to be a stripped down tune done by the book and there’s always going to be a melodic oriental theme for one track, see where I’m going with this? Good.
The band did manage to surprise me with an oddly placed calm passage on “Bless My Sins” and I shan’t lie to you about my constant head banging to the album’s title track but to receive an admirable score for only two noteworthy tracks just won’t happen.
So if you like Power Metal on a more aggressive level with melodic hooks, flashy solos, basically with all the melodic elements intact and nothing more, you should go with this album. (Online November 2, 2004)