Released: 2007, Pure Steel Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
The Swiss band Emerald was formed out from the ashes of two local bands Dark Crystal and Oppress in 1995, dedicating this new band to heavy metal. After going through some line-up changes, recording 3 full-length albums, playing a number of shows with several known international acts (to mention both Anvil and Ruffians as the two most known bands), Emerald finally landed a record deal with a German label Pure Steel Records in summer 2006. So, let the story under their latest label begin...
HYMNS TO STEEL, containing 10 songs (with intro + outro) from Emerald, is a pretty nice blend of traditional heavy metal and some power metal, added with some epicness here and there in a good measure. The band´s guitarists, Jvo Julmy (also on vocals) and Michael Vaucher, have obviously spent some time listening to their Maiden albums because Murray/Smith´s influence can be easily spotted from the songs on HYMNS TO STEEL. In fact, that´s a definite plus for their songs, too. Which of us wouldn´t love all those catchy and very melodic guitar work that is present in Maiden´s sound? Also, I really like Jvo´s vocals on this release as he manages to sound like that classic pre-power metal type of vocals that were done a lot in the ´80s (think of Jag Panzer, Griffin, both US and German Tyrant, and so many other bands from those times as well). Emerald´s songs truly contain some of those classic metal elements I found very enjoyable when becoming familiar with a bunch of more obscure metal bands back in the day. They keep things pretty simple and don´t succumb to overdo things within their smoothly rollin' heavy/pre-power metal. Songs like "Hymns to Steel", "Revenge" and "Bard of the King" should give a good run for every true heavy metal digger´s money, letting their metal flow smoother with might and power than the blood of the king on the holy ground.
HYMNS TO STEEL is absolutely meant for all the fans of ´80s heavy (or pre-power) metal. You might want to check them out, too...