Megaton Sword – Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire Review

Is that a Megaton Sword in your armor or are you just happy to see me? In trvth it is I who is happy to see Megaton Sword riding the tide of righteous battle on their debut full-length ode to all things edged and deadly. This Swiss cutthroat crew is carved from the same olde school stone as acts like VisigothEternal Champion, and ageless legends like Cirith Ungol, and they deliver heroic tales of bravery and medieval butchery on the excellently titled Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire. But a word of dire warning: this is trve metal for those who want their Manowar Helper™ marinated in the frigid waters of Bathory’s Hammerheart opus. These mega-macho, Conan-centric tunes bear a raw, unrefined edge that will cause severe poser infection in unworthy hands. Yet it’s exactly this kind of music that builds muscles of iron and a steely resolve, both of which are essential to effectively wielding the Megaton Sword that is the birthright of the chosen few. The happy few. The blood-soaked few.

I’ll say this much – the opening title track is one of the most chest-thumping, rabble-rousing war anthems this olde warrior has heard in years. It’s everything I want in this style and it’s in the running to be my Song o’ the Year on testosterone and back hair alone. The heavy, Bathory-esque riffs provide a powerhouse foundation for the piercing vocals of Uzzy Unchained. He’s the ultimate love or hate frontman, but I became an instant supporter as soon as he started bellowing battlefield commands and hurling death curses. His high-pitched wail sits somewhere between Cirith Ungol’s immortal Tim Baker and Mats from Ereb Altor, and while his delivery may not be good technically, it’s great for this music. “Verene” is less rabid and bloodthirsty than the title track, but the spirit of classic metal courses through its armored husk as Cirith Ungol and Ironsword influences duel over a flaming pit of smoked siracha whiskey. The chorus is bigger than Zeus and it’ll send you truckin’ down the Manilla Road at breakneck speeds.

There are some issues with consistency as the album defiles your feeble fortifications. Cuts like “In the Black of Night” and “Songs of Victory” have all the right ingredients to make you ruthlessly sack the local beer emporium, but the strangely subdued closer “The Giver’s Embrace” exchanges righteous rage for something like early Manowar mixed with Pentagram. It’s interesting but lacks some of the blunt force impact the best material delivers. Power ballad “Crimson River” is an odd duck too. Uzzy’s wheelhouse doesn’t include a ballad setting, and though he goes all in and then some, his voice is just too strange and “unique” for the pacing and things get pretty weird. At a tasty 41 minutes, it all goes down like mead after a long day testing the mettle, but there’s no denying the writing quality misses the mark at times.

For better or worse, Uzzy Unchained is the main attraction and all the world is his sword show. There’s been some lively discussion at the AMG Staff Debatorium over the man’s abilities and whether he hurts or helps the material. Some find him abrasive and unpalatable, but those heretics are dead wrong and must be purged for the greater good of metaldom. Though highly unpolished, Uzzy provides the material a unique character and sound, and while he isn’t the next Eric Adams and can be shrill and pitchy, his voice sparks the flame in the heart of Steel. Chris the Axe and his…axe are the other crucial cogs that swing the Megaton Sword. He references the best elements of the early Viking era of Bathory and olden era acts like Cirith Ungol, churning out burly, beefy riffs that hail the metal legends high. This sounds like something from the 80s and it has that perfect throwback vibe that knocks the nostalgia out of your skull. This is a good thing.

Blood Hails Steel is a good companion piece to the upcoming Eternal Champion platter, and it can be served proudly with any trve slab of metal chest puffery. It has flaws, but you can’t deny the sheer power and the glory when the band screw their courage to the sticking place. If you can’t handle Megaton Sword you need to grow stronger. Sword measuring is now complete. Go get yourself a nice piece of hail.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dying Victims
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 13th, 2020

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