Released: 2001, Independent
Tempered Steel mix thrash metal, power metal, traditional metal and hard rock into a mixture that makes them stand out in my books. Seeing them live at this April’s Metal Meltdown festival in NJ was what made me a fan. Hearing the CD after I’d returned knocked it home - these guys have something happening and I hope we hear a lot more from them! The band consists of Steve Boyd (lead vocal, acoustic guitar), Brian Boyd (lead guitar, backing vocals), James Redmond (drums, backing vocals) and Rhett Runolfson (bass, backing vocal).
IN YOUR FACE begins with “My Disease” a tale about how the “bottle is my only friend.” Not a nice disease to have by any means, hopefully it’s not an autobiographical tale, or we might lose the band before their prime! Up second is the memorable “In Your Face.” The main riff in this one has a very cool trill that reminds me of Slayer. In this song the vocals of Steve Boyd shine. They go from the raunchy to soaring to screaming…. great stuff, especially at the end when he screams out “I’m still laughing.” This is followed by another of the album’s stronger moments, “The Shadow People” which has an excellent drum intro. In this one I am reminded of the vocals of Russ Anderson (ex-Forbidden) when he melodically sings “scum of the earth.” I don’t have the lyric sheet for the CD, but this song makes me wonder what it’s about when he’s saying something about “sunken in tits.” Huh? Haha! After the solo in this song is my favorite riff in the song. Simple yes, but catchy as fuck! “In My Hour of Doom” is another memorable moment. The thrashy intro sounds like something I’ve heard before, but I can’t put my finger on it. The bass in this one stands out because it’s cranked during a certain part. The bands hard rock influences can be heard on the song “Agoraphobic.” The vocals on this one have more of a ballsy heavy blues feel then the other songs. The music also follows suit. “Escape From Utopia” has some very intricate guitar riffing and fills. The drumming for the most part in this one is all double kicks – something I am a sucker for when it’s done right…and it is here! The CD does have a couple of songs that are not up to the high standards of what they have shown they can do. Such is the case with “Falling Down” which goes nowhere, the confused “The Salesman” which despite having some nice acoustic guitar moments (reminiscent of Led Zeppelin) and being backed by some great rich/deep vocals is still a mishmash kind of song. Then there is “Schizophrenia” which also comes off as a filler song to me.
Oddly enough, this band can trace it’s roots right back to 1987 when the guys were obviously quite young and still in high school. To my knowledge they had some downtime in between the years in the 80’s and their return in the late 90’s. Either way, the USA needs more new bands like this coming out. I hope these guys get a professionally recorded CD out and on a label. I know they have the talent to do more. If you see this band as the opening act on a bill for one of the touring bands in your area, do yourself a favor and check them out. More information on the band can be found at their webpage at http://www.temperedsteel.net
and sound samples are at artists.mp3s.com/artists/55/tempered_steel.html (I recommend “The Shadow People”).