Masters Of Steel
Released: 2000, Independent
Like all enthusiastic fans of heavy metal, Alessandro Alioto has a dream – to play kick ass true heavy metal and release cool albums. Well Alessandro, I hate to be the one to do it, but I have to bring you kickin’ and screamin’ back to reality. You see, Berserker (basically Alioto and a drummer) has quite a ways to go before becoming a truly viable force in the heavy metal wars.
The band plays, not surprisingly, “true” metal, which is to say they sound a lot like Hammerfall and all of their spawns. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but we really do only need so many Hammerfalls in this world. Another strike that the band has against them is the somewhat less than stellar recording values of the CD, a problem which is admittedly hard to overcome for a band that has no label backing. Needless to say, the Berserker would benefit from time in a proper studio. Anyhow, to the songs!
The album opens with the galloper “Run For Your Life”, whose bass & drum opening sounds like it was “borrowed” from the Iron Maiden classic, “Running Free”. Guys, I appreciate salutes to your influences, but GEEZ, do ya have to rip ‘em off? Anyhow, the song itself isn’t all that bad, a traditional high-speed double-kicked album opener. It works because it doesn’t suffer from the main affliction of Berserker – long windedness. “Evil Warrior”, “Masters Of Steel”, and especially “Fight Or Die!” are all decent songs that go on at least 2 minutes too long. Alioto needs to decide if Berserker is progressive (which they ain’t) or ass kickers (which they could be). On the plus side we get a cool instrumental in “Drakkar part I” which has some nice guitar melodies, and the previously mentioned “Fight Or Die!” (Yes, the “!” is part of the title) which has that “Oh shit! The Vikings are coming” kind of feel. Still, “Drakkar part II” is unnecessary as is “Blood Of The Warriors…” which sounds like a church hymn I remember hearing as child (!).
If I remember correctly, Berserker has been creating demo albums for almost 10 years now, and, if the songwriting doesn’t improve, I really don’t see them progressing beyond this stage. Still, the tools are there, as Alioto is a talented player but he really needs to tighten up his songs to move up the ladder. Hiring a real band would improve things immensely as well.