The relatively new label, Pure Steel (and it’s affiliates Pure Rock, Pure Prog, Pure Legends etc), is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Metal record labels. In light of a number of great releases and the high quality from the label, I want to do a little feature and look back at seven PURE STEEL albums from 2012 you may have missed including Alltheniko, Custard, In Aevum Agere, Phantom X, Power Theory, StormRider and Sleepy Hollow. Please feel to enjoy the reviews of all these fine releases in our Pure Steel feature, as well as previous published reviews of New Eden, Emerald and Axehammer.
Power Theory are another young band with some old influences on a young label signing bands that sound old. Confused yet? No need to be confused all you need to know is that the world is a good and happy place when new bands of this caliber dedicated to the purity of Metal are still being formed. This quintet is based in Pennsylvania and there have been some considerable changes since the debut album in 2011. The band dropped the rhythm section and added another guitarist in the form of Steve Stegg who also plays in Sleepy Hollow. The band present a strong cover image by Eliran Kantor, the up and coming Heavy Metal cover artist who has worked for such bands as Mekong Delta, Anacrusis, Sodom and Testament.
AN AXE TO GRIND runs for about 50 minutes and the nine cuts are very solid, crunchy riff-driven Metal. The band call themselves, “ …a mix of the NWOBHM, 80’s German Power Metal, and a little bay area Thrash thrown in to shake it up.” Normally I wouldn’t quote a bands own website, but that is a pretty good description. The vocals of Dave Santini are ruff n’ ready, he stays in the lower register with nice character and grit to his voice. He reminds a bit of the rougher side of Doug Lee formerly of Mekong Delta and Guido Feldhausen formerly of Gun Barrel. Weird I know, but that is what comes to my mind when I hear his excellent unique voice. He is backed up with the occasional chanted, gang-vocal which helps accentuate the aforementioned Germanic influence.
The album is straight-up Metal with the occasional acoustic bit, very few and far between and for the most part holds a relentless driving pace fueled by some excellent, but not overly complicated drumming. I like the use of the bell of the ride cymbal through the songs. The pace, tome and tempo are good and the songs are well thought out but not progressive or unique, they follow a set-template of what a good Metal song can and should be all held together with good production that emphasizes the distorted guitars.
I’d like to see some slightly more adventurous song-writing and perhaps some more soaring solos to break up the intensity and pounding drive of every song. But what else did I expect from a band with the name Power Theory? They live up to their name and they do have an axe to grind as this album is an intense listen, it thunders along start to finish, powerful and pure, sure to please most USPM fans.
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