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Steel Attack - Carpe diend 2.5/5

Reviewed: 5-9-08


1. Carpe DiEnd
2. The evil in me
3. I keep falling
4. Holy is evil
5. Perpetual solitude
6. For whom I bleed
7. Angels
8. Entrance to heaven denied
9. Crawl
10. Never again
11. Beyond the light

Sweden’s Steel Attack have returned in 2008 to release their 6th full-length CD, entitled ‘Carpe diend’. It is their last release since their 2006 CD, called ‘Diabolic symphony’. Steel Attack have been one of those power metal bands who have dipped in form in recent years, after starting out quite promising. Changing their musical styles with the trends at the time, Steel Attack have gone from power metal a la “dragons, swords, knights and fighting” to the other end of the spectrum and becoming more typically heavy metal in the process.

With numerous line-up changes throughout their existence, came changes of direction, ideas and songwriting. The original Steel Attack no longer exists, but have they improved from that or have they declined? That is the question. I believe Steel Attack reached their peak with their 3rd release, entitled ‘Predator of the empire’, released in 2003 and is arguably their best CD to date. Steel Attack had the right formula with that CD, so it is unfortunate that they do not sound like that anymore. In a way you could compare what Steel Attack are doing now with what happened with Metalium. Both had the same paths of starting out great, reaching a peak early; and both are declining somewhat now musically and their styles now are quite similar. I’d say Metalium are a bit faster than Steel Attack at the moment though.

Instead of fast-paced tracks with great riffs, excellent song-writing and melodic vocals, ‘Carpe diend’ is none of these things. The majority of the tracks are all slow to mid-paced and vocalist Ronny Hemlin basically sings at the top of his voice with hardly any emotion or melody. There still may be some good guitar riffs in most of the tracks, but they also follow the same structure and overall just lack depth. That’s not to say that the songs suck, but they could have been a hell of a lot better.

For what Steel Attack is now (from ‘Enslaved’ onwards), they would have lost fans but also gained new ones with their current sound. I for one enjoyed ‘Enslaved’, but it wasn’t enough for me to have any interest in their 2nd to last release, ‘Diabolic symphony’. But with word of a new CD to be released, I again found some interest and here I am reviewing ‘Carpe diend’.

Onto the songs on the CD and apart from what I mentioned earlier about them being basically mid-paced the whole way through, there are one or 2 which break off from the typical song structure that Steel Attack have on this release. “For whom I bleed” would be the best track on the CD, mainly because it doesn’t sound the same as all the others. This track does have great riffs and even a solo, which has also disappeared from the most recent Steel Attack songs. Hemlin doesn’t shout at the top of his voice on this song and overall it is arranged very nicely. “Entrance to heaven denied” is also a good song, as again it is different than the others. This one is quite slower, but not quite considered a ballad. It’s still heavy, but it has depth and emotion, something that is lacking on this release.

Overall I am disappointed with this release. I feel that Steel Attack have lost what it was that made them unique with their first 3 releases and are unable to get it back. Whether they have changed their style to gain more exposure or fans, I feel that the majority of fans have struggled to remain interested in them now. They do seem a shadow of their former selves and they really need something to change to put them back on track. ‘Carpe diend’ has basically been done by the numbers. For serious Steel Attack fans only I’m afraid.




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