Armored Saint

Steel Assassin – WWII: Metal of Honor Review

Steel Assassin – WWII: Metal of Honor Review

Steel Assassin is a mighty obscure act by anyone’s reckoning. They were knocking around all throughout the 80s and 90s but could never get a proper album released. Then, quite out of the blue, they released War of the Eight Saints in 2007 and totally blew me away with their ballsy, aggressive take on American power metal and NWOBHM. It was one of the best albums of that year, but didn’t bring them as much attention as it deserved.

Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance Review

Arch/Matheos – Sympathetic Resonance Review

Steel Druhm needs to ramble on for a bit so kindly bear with me, or else! As a life long metal fan, I can look back and pinpoint those few truly special albums that blew me away upon release and continue to feel magical after decades of listening. Right at the top of that very short list are two classics by Fates Warning. Hailing from Connecticut, they released three albums in the early to mid-80s that really embodied the American take on the traditional NWOBHM ethos and at times sounded quite like vintage Iron Maiden. Of those three albums, 85’s The Specter Within and 86’s Awaken the Guardian were their masterworks and any fan of classic metal really needs to hear them immediately if not sooner. After so many years, both easily stand the test of time and I find myself going back to them frequently. The main draw, aside from the expert songwriting, are the vocals by John Arch. The man had a one-of-a-kind voice, killer range and the ability to write hyper-intelligent lyrics. When he left the band following Awaken the Guardian, Fates Warning sank into mediocrity and I lost all interest. Arch himself left the music business entirely and I always hoped he would resurface and grace us with his voice again. He finally did in 2003 with the short but excellent Twist of Fate EP, which I hoped was the start of a serious comeback. Well, it took another eight long years but he finally has resurfaced again for a collaboration with his old Fates Warning guitarists Jim Matheos (OSI, Gordian Knot), Frank Aresti and other Fates alumni, bassist Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Anthrax, Seven Witches) and drum lord Bobby Jarzombek (Halford, Riot, Iced Earth, Rob Rock). So does this mega reunion bring back any of the potent magic from days long gone? Well, it seems that isn’t a fair question since Sympathetic Resonance is quite a different animal than Fates Warning. It’s way more modern, proggy, convoluted and heavier than anything their old unit attempted (I was actually surprised how heavy some of this material gets). Overall, its very polished and aggressive progressive metal from old dogs that obviously have plenty of life left in them.

DC4 – Electric Ministry Review

DC4 – Electric Ministry Review

I didn’t want to review this, didn’t even want to listen to it. Angry Metal Guy said I had to do it. I bitched, moaned, put it off, made excuses and so on. I didn’t like the cover or the song titles. It screamed cheesy cock rock and I had a general feeling of dread. Yesterday I resigned myself to biting the bullet and just getting through it. Although I was pretty much right on the nail about the cock rock, much to my shock, this didn’t suck. In fact, it rocked! It seems even the mighty Steel Druhm can be wrong (like twice on eon). DC4 is a semi-supergroup composed of former members of Armored Saint (Jeff Duncan), Dio (Rowan Robertson) and Odin (Shawn Duncan). They play a metallized hard rock style that can be compared to classic era Van Halen if Dimebag Darrel was the guitarist and songwriter. Yes, I mean that. Electric Ministry is their third full length and it features a collection of straight forward, guitar-driven hard rock anthems with just enough grit and punch to satisfy the average metal monger. They effectively craft songs with big, pumping, meaty riffs and hooks galore. Its essentially panties-on-the-head party metal with a sleazy, “good times” vibe that veers into dark, disturbing areas at times. I’ll be honest here, I actively resisted liking this and it didn’t work. I resent DC4 making me support this release! What is the world coming to.