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Book of the Dead
Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
America’s Steel Prophet are like a well-kept secret, one that is slowly being passed around. Despite the fact that the band was founded back in the 80’s by guitarist Steve Kachinsky, they are just being recognized in some circles. Some even mention their name with such other more known US METAL bands like Iced Earth and Nevermore. Since day one the band have gotten positive reviews and fans of the power metal genre love the band. Maybe with an extra push by Nuclear Blast this band can get the recognition it deserves.
Even though this is power metal it’s “US power metal” – that typically means it’s grittier, darker and has more in common with Dio and Maiden then it does with taking a page from the Helloween Keeper of The Sever Keys albums. I’m not saying this “style” is either better or less than the other; it’s just to point out an obvious difference I hear. Steel Prophet also don’t not use keyboards, well if they do in the studio they have fooled me. So onto the music…BOOK OF THE DEAD opens with “When Six Was Nine” which is easily the best and probably the most accessible song on the CD. “Burning Into Blackness” caught my ear for its pure metal simplicity. Nods to Iron Maiden occur in the riffing. The verses are ballad-like yet other parts of the song are quite heavy. The chorus has a bouncy catchy feel that sticks with you after hearing it. If you’re a fan of traditional metal this will be right up your alley. The album has a noticeably excellent thick yet crisp sound. I really noticed the thickness at the beginning of “Locked Out” – very cool heavy intro. The “radio signal/laser beam” sound later in this song is a bit annoying though. Another song that really jumps out is “Phobia.” This is borderline thrash metal. Awesome guitar riffing and runs, vocals, melodies, drums, solos…oh yeah! This one is definitely a hot spot on the CD! The short acoustic piece called “Soleares” is a Spanish / Flamenco track that adds a neat interlude to “Church of Mind.” One last thing to mention is the album closer “Oleander” – it’s just vocals and only lasts for about 20 seconds. It sounds REALLY weird and for some reason very 70’s haha…you’ll have to hear it to know what I mean.
If you like traditional metal mixed with power metal then Steel Prophet is a band you have to add to your “to check out” list. Fans of bands like Lefay, Symphorce, Jag Panzer, Dio, etc. will like much of what Steel Prophet has to offer.
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