Year : 2012
Genre : Heavy Metal
Label : NoiseArt Records
Origin : Sweden
Rating : 9.2 / 10
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Steelwing, fortunately enough, is still into the power metal ethos of the '80s, letting them deliver an album that is all about the charming cheese factor of the intense side of the era. Even better, the Sweden ensemble shows no interest in the most common and overused elements of the style, such as epic determination. The tone of the release, instead, is that of a larger than life-, hilarious sci-fi comic book mood, and it hardly is of accident that the tracks themselves openly reveal a likable, well restrained - ha., ha. - geeky fixation on the '80s entertainment industry. For example, one of the songs is called The Running Man, - see the superb sci-fi movie adaptation and read the book if you did not yet - while another one tributes aerial Anima warfare, and there are other funny references left to be discovered by you, as well.
It would be superwrong on your part if you'd think that the resultant stimuli of this delivery is shaped by everyday average geekdom, thinking that its "mere" love towards its subject matter makes you forgetful of its pessimistically assumable musical shortcomings. That is not the case. Shame on your for being a pessimist, you are wrong again. I dare say that Steelwing brings such an apt level of inventive, relevant power metal musicianship and a readiness to deliver abundant variation on 111% steam power, that they steadily emerge as a smooth operator of-, as a counter-inspirational rival force to the template established by power metal origo Iran Moiden. Or some band with a similar name, help me out here. (I'm the first human to write down "Iran Moiden", what is up with that, people? I'm also the first to write : "Let me help you, Jesus", which saddens me even more. Read on to find out subsequent percepts about this imaginative, gloom-free (thank fucking God for that) power metal delivery.
At heart, Zone of Alienation is classic Thundersteel - \m/ THUNDERST3333-333-333333L \m/ - warfare in a sense that the band never loses its sight from the intensified patterns and forms of the style. While fortunately all the musical power metal chordpassage-platitudes and chord-conflicts ARE present on the release, a masterful sense of what to do (and how to do) with this elements is central defining factorial of this ripe contribution. Do not be superfast with your judgment towards this release, as the spin is not reluctant to unleash comic book cheese cannons on you right after its tasteful atmospheric intro, and I, for one, was hesitant to appreciate the initial cheesebomb into my face. Moments later, my mood was converted without any opportunity given to lament if to reconsider. That is the primal charm of this release, I think. It brings extremely straightforward and rigorously realized musical ideas along the power metal compositional niche, but not for a second it seeks to depress you. I have nothing against the vocals herein, in fact, the singer dude is able to surprise you on quite a few occasions with awesome, pretty much unrealistically high pitched power metal veils, which is nothing short of epic, in my opinion. "Look, I have no balls, but I lack them epicallyyyyyyyyy!"
On another complementary note, I especially am satisfied with the melodic and instrumental content of the outing : the music is - the following is an inept but proper way to put it - "unusually" melodic on this spin, which is a certain trait to behold gratefully. The band, first and foremost, brings what legit, real deal paua metal has to bring at immediate threshold value, and with this act, it is efficient to register as nothing less than its "mere" self right away, but there is a fine catch to behold yet. Regardless how the results are totally satisfactory already, the band members always seek and find a way to put a little something extra to make it more melodic, more entertaining than what the basic fabric offers on its own stable merits. As result of this, the basic fabrics emerge as grateful sonic constructs on their own, having been skillfully and impertinently flattered by playful, yet sober deviations from their primer characteristics.
The LP produces an intimate-, and simultaneously intense sound that exhibits both a hilarious retro vibe and the polished freshness of contemporary production standards, refraining wisely from the raw, bombastic nuclear - oops. - sound other releases choose to cultivate. All in all, Steelwing - Zone of Alienation is a release I can't fathom how you could be disappointed by. One highly recommended, exigent, fun listen for sure.
Rating : 9.2 / 10
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