Steel Seal - By the power of thunder 4/5

Reviewed: 3-30-07





Tracklist:

1. Anger storm
2. Roncesvalles' day
3. Theatre of pain
4. Sun and steel
5. When the devil calls
6. If
7. Walhalla
8. Townrazer
9. Crying my heart away


When I think of neo-classical metal, Italy never comes to mind. But Steel Seal is just that, an Italian neo-classical power metal band and their debut 'By the power of thunder' is a great introduction. What's even more interesting, is they've acquired popular German vocalist DC Cooper (ex-Royal Hunt/others), who's already a large part of Silent Force, a band that's certainly rolling right now and I wonder why/how DC is associated with Steel Seal. Regardless of the unique circumstances though, the band is more than capable of competing in this love-or-hate style of metal.

Comparable to bands like Iron Mask, Evil Masquerade, Magic Kingdom and maybe Virtuocity, Steel Seal offers up plenty of fast-paced songs and 'By the power of thunder' is a thoroughly upbeat and exciting listen. The many neo-classical flourishes are both guitar and keyboard oriented, and if you're a fan of the previously mentioned bands, you'll be quite pleased here.

As you would expect, DC Cooper's outstanding vocals take the CD's quality up a notch. His voice is crisp, clear, and he's chosen to avoid the high-pitched screams (with exception of a few moments on track 3 "Theatre of pain" and track 5 "When the devil calls"), something that I'm thankful for, though I'm positive many of you are much more accepting of the Halford (Judas priest)/Scheepers (Primal Fear) vocal style. I can't emphasize enough how great DC sounds on 'By the power of thunder', reminding me of Olaf Hayer (Dionysus) many times throughout.

As mentioned, the majority of the songs are quite speedy, and what's cool about this CD is the best songs are the opener "Anger storm" (diplaying awesome keyboard work) and closer "Crying my heart away", which is probably the most memorable. The remainder of the CD is far from filler however, and I like every song, though some are surely a bit better than others. Really, if you're a fan of neo-classical power metal, the aforementioned bands and/or DC Cooper's vocals, 'By the power of thunder' is a no-brainer and more than just a worthwhile purchase.



CLINT




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