Powersteel - Ready to attack 2.5/5

Reviewed: 10-1-11


1. Ready to attack
2. Never ending war
3. Freedom fighter
4. Heart on fire
5. Voices in the night
6. Fighting for love
7. Back on the streets again
8. Search for power
9. Devil's game

Iíll be honest and admit that Iíve struggled to find a great deal to say about this CD, and that from the first listen I knew that that was probably going to be the case. But something tells me that it's not just burnout from years of reviewing bands in fairly similar styles, and rather that Powersteelís debut full-length is just one thatís hard to get particularly excited about one way or the other.

With a name like that you could reasonably expect these Brazilians to either be a knowingly OTT pack of comedians, or just as despairingly generic as the mix-and-match prefix A + suffix B title would suggest. In this instance it's the latter, and whether it was Dragonblast, Powerfire or Eaglesword, it all smacks of a lack of inspiration that is sadly reflected all too obviously in the music.

I donít want to come down too hard on Powersteel though, as they actually donít do a great deal wrong Ė they just donít do a great deal of anything at all. There are some nice riffs to be found here and there, and the vocals recorded by late frontman Lauro Brito Jr. are actually reasonably impressive, but the whole thing blends together to form an altogether grey pallet where none of the songs stand out from each other and the CD seems to last a lot longer than its 37-minute running time.

The epic metal style they play is more reminiscent of something you could expect from an Italian band like Holy Martyr, build on steady riffing and soaring vocals with no keyboard fanciness or robotic double-bass hammering to blame for the generic end result. Indeed, the talent on display is not in question, but it is how they apply it that it all falls apart. Fernando CortÍís lead playing is technically impressive, and while some of his lightning-quick solos add a bit of flair here and there, on other occasions they feel like more by the numbers workouts that only compound the mediocrity of the song.

A serious lack of memorablity, particularly on the verses and choruses, is the biggest problem - Britoís delivery is good, an operatic timbre that suits the epic metal style well, but the melodies are devoid of any real spark. Too often a song will begin with a reasonably impressive riff, only to tumble into a verse completely interchangeable with any other on the CD and even after the several listens required to make a reasonable fist of reviewing it, I am struggling badly to remember how any of the songs actually go.

Itís hard to kick bands like this, because Powersteel clearly have their heart in the right place, but when you get right down to the brass tacks, the stuff simply isnít there. 12 years in the game now, I canít see where they can go from here that wonít simply be more of the same. ĎReady to attackí wonít do anyone any harm, but it really isnít anything more than background noise.




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