Steel Attack - Predator Of The Empire - reviewed by: EC
1. Predator of the empire 2. Cursed land 3. The darkness 4. Point of no return 5. Heavy metal god 6. The holy sign 7. Arise 8. Nightmare 9. One way to heaven one way to hell 10. Reality unknown
"Predator Of The Empire" is the third album from this up and coming German sensation. I've been a supporter of Steel Attack since the beginning, really treasuring the band's first two records, "Where Mankind Fails" and "Fall Into Madness". This act plays a traditional, often heard power metal sound coming out of Europe these days, but with Steel Attack, they play this sound to the heaviest point possible, sounding as if In Flames and Soilwork had dropped the cookie monster vocals and cashed in on the power metal sound.
My biggest fault of the band thus far has been the dissapointing vocals, and apparently that was a concern of the band as well. With this third release the band welcomes new front man Dick Johnson to the fold. Johnson brings a much more mature vocal sound to the band, almost sounding like a neo-classical singer, hitting all the highs and lows just fine. Needless to say this vocal improvement polishes the band's sound and completes a Steel Attack lineup that could very well be the new leaders of the German power scene.
Tracks like "Cursed Land" and "The Darkness" sound light years better with Johnson on the stick, with the music not changing drastically from the prior albums. Fans of the Steel Attack sound will consume other songs such as "Point Of No Return", "Heavy Metal God", and the "The Holy Sign", which all mix Running Wild's complex riffing with Helloween's gallop.
What really stands out here is the unique "tightness" of the group, playing full scale power metal assaults with the strings, but laying down heavy groove based licks as well, almost sounding like Pantera at times. Not alot of bands are mixing this style together, although Iron Fire has mastered this technique on their "Over The Edge" album. This hybrid sound almost reminds me of the flashy Gothenburg sound, which mixes heaviness with the melody of Thin Lizzy or Helloween.
Predator Of The Empire is an absolute improvement all around, and I wish the band much success in the future. I think with this release Steel Attack has firmly established that they are waiting to take the torch from older bands like Grave Digger, Helloween, and Running Wild.
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 contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. 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. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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