Ritual Steel - Invinvible warriors 3/5

Reviewed: 11-23-07





Tracklist:

1. Raiders from space
2. Invincible warriors
3. The witch
4. No one can bring us down
5. Killer attack
6. Can't stop rockin'
7. A hell of a night
8. Che


On their 3rd full-length CD, Germany’s Ritual Steel play their straightforward heavy metal with a raw, rough-edged style that should appeal to those who are big fans of bands like Skullview, Brocas Helm and even October 31. Overall, the style isn’t terribly different from their prior 2 CDs. While the metal is always melodic, this couldn’t be farther within that range from the really clean, sometimes happy European power metal sound, and without even the more careful, if edgier crafting, of bands like Grave Digger and Rebellion. Instead, this is a musical equivalent of a dangerous biker bar into which Freedom Call and Insania mistakenly step into, and nervously order a ginger ale and hope they don’t get beaten to a pulp.

Indeed, despite being a European band, they have a distinctive U.S. sound, and this time around, that’s even more logical, with Exiled (hail Arizona!) singer John Cason behind the mike. While Exiled’s music is a bit more polished, it’s not as surprising as the pedigree of guitarist Sven Boege and Stefan Ikert, because this seems to be a huge departure from the clear, progressive metal of Ivory Tower, their prior band. Drummer Martin Zellmer is the identity and continuing member of the band, and the liner notes give a prodigious explanation of the band’s history as he continues the name with these new musicians, even promising a soon to be CD re-recording the band’s prior material. (Hmmm, for a band with 3 CDs, that seems a bit odd.)

What is here is good, but not that great, and the people I can see this CD pleasing the most is those who like a bit more beer in their metal, and kind of loathe the afore-referenced power metal bands of Europe. Additionally, the raw edge and really old-school songwriting may appeal to those who have overall found too much Finnish in their bands of late.

It’s a bit of an oddly structured CD, with only 8 songs, but the last one being “Che”, a 12-minute track based on the life of the famous revolutionary. A track like “Can’t stop rockin’” definitely removes you completely from the Rhapsody zone, although songs like “Raiders from space” and “A hell of a night” show they’re not completely adverse to the sci-fi/fantasy motif. Cason has a strong voice, and the instrumental work is solid in its driving metal sound. The production is varied in its rawness, while the CD opens up with the guitars searing with an appropriately cutting sound, on “The witch”, one of the drums, whether intentional or not, has all the fidelity of a paper-wrapped tin can which clicks through the entire song. It’s a more full sound than a raw 80s production, but not one to impress with fidelity, although, I would guess that wasn’t the band’s first priority. The songwriting is repetitive enough that the lesser tunes, like “The witch”, “Can't stop rockin'”, and “No one can bring us down”, are catchy enough in a basic way, while the opening “Raiders from space” and “Che” offer a cut above in terms of both the songs and the performance enough to be really enjoyable.

Overall, 'Invinvible warriors' is a decent CD that might really impress someone if they’re looking for exactly this style of metal as a bit of a change of pace, and otherwise, is enjoyable enough if you buy it, without being a necessity of any sort.



CRAIG




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