British Steel: The Rising Force of British Heavy Metal
Type: CD Company: Dissonance Release: 2017 Genre: Traditional Reviewer: Eric Compton Published: 10/4/2017
Label compilation of presentations of new wave of traditional heavy metal
Dissonance Productions is a UK label formed in 2016. The label is distributed by Plastic Head and focuses on the new wave of traditional heavy metal. With roster acts like Diamond Head, Steve Grimmett, Amulet and Eliminator, the label showcases both iconic, classic bands as well as those just on the horizon. It is a great balance and caters to the denim and leathers who live and die by the sword.
To celebrate the label’s early success, a compilation “sampler” album was released entitled ‘British Steel: The Rising Force of British Heavy Metal’. It features 11 bands and 11 songs – each an exclusive track that may be featured on upcoming albums or as digital singles. Four of the bands featured are including new songs from upcoming albums – Amulet, Eliminator, Seven Sisters and Neuronspoiler.
Amulet’s “Highwayman” kicks it off with a quick run through traditional soundscapes. It is slightly higher vocals amongst busy drums and charging riffs. It sounds similar to their 2014 debut ‘The First’ for Century Media. Aggressive Perfector from Manchester follows with “Harlot’s Spell”, a track from their most recent demo “Satan’s Heavy Metal”. It’s Dio-era Sabbath worship with a vocalist a little like Paul Di’anno. It’s rough around the edges and that adds to the charm. Eliminator cut “Lost to the Void” is a little more power metal but still embeds quick twin guitar melody. It is sort of this hybrid of mid-era Nocturnal Rites, Virgin Steele and Helloween. London’s Dungeon brings ample energy with the speed metal romp “Queen of Sin”. It has an early Running Wild feel to it with a slight dose of Witchburner. Really good barn burning stuff elevated with a frenzied pace. Dark Forest appears courtesy of Cruz del Sur Music to offer “Where the Arrow Falls” from their most recent effort ‘Beyond the Veil’. Unlike the more vintage sounding bands, this one is a bit more power metal oriented.
The second half starts off with Toledo Steel, a Bournemouth/Southampton act that throws out a hard rock vibe with “Rock Nights”. Vocally Rich Rutter reminds me of Rob Rock with a musical attack similar to Raven - a penchant for hooks while keeping it basic. Guitarist Tom Potter (guessing the same member from 2013) erupts with a furious solo at the halfway point. Vuil is an album highlight for me, bringing hard charging speed metal cut “Iron Witch”. It’s Exciter worship (cover tune?) cranked to 11 with Red Bull. I’ll pursue this band. London’s Seven Sisters runs a quick gambit of quality vocals and walls of rhythmic riffs. It’s energetic with a smooth middle section that harkens back to the glory days. Lancaster’s Insurgency is one of the weaker cuts, a clangy, noisy affair that sounds like garage Venom. Neuronspoiler are a London act that feature lead-off single “Slay the Beast”. This is a teaser for new record ‘Second Sight’ due on 10/20/17. Production wise this one is better than the others, a decent mix with an up-front battery of bass and drums. The band compares favorably to Jag Panzer with a vocalist that can pull it off. The comp closes out with a softer texture – Lancaster’s Wytch Hazel. The band has a spirituality to it, mixing melody and triumphant lyrics. It’s a fitting end to what I would consider a rousing, successful compilation.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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