Released: 2013, Pure Underground Records
Here is a mostly ignored German metal band from the mid 80’s that have made a return in 2013. Fans of obscure German metal probably remember the band’s 1985 album IN YOUR BACK and ‘87’s follow-up MOLTEN METAL, both worthy, if unremarkable slabs of Teutonic metal. Most listeners however will be discovering Stainless Steel for the first time via METAL MACHINE, an album title that screams underground, an unapologetic and hopeless dedication to metal that commits commercial suicide in band and album name. Would we metal heads have it any other way? Absolutely not!
Cross vintage Accept and Judas Priest with old-school Anvil, modernize the production and you have a close approximation of what Stainless Steel is offering. In other words, damn fine meat and potatoes metal and a direct throw back to 80s metal. Other than lead-off instrumental “Back In Your Minds”, which sounds slightly power metal-ish, you could start your listening with any song and realize you have gone back in time. “Master Of The Universe” is an up tempo chugger, with singer Ralf Scholz showing some pretty decent range as well as some raspy passages that hearken to Udo himself. “Kiss of Judas” is an album highlight, diverse with its acoustic opening before a head-banging riff kicks in and a verse that would make Annihilator proud. The rest of the album basically follows suit, the songs containing enough variety and skill to remain interesting. The guitar work from Thomas Müller and Norbert Barton is a near perfect recapturing of that bygone era, the solos being notable for their slicing and precise execution.
Credit the Pure brand of labels (Pure Underground) in this case, for resurrecting and re-introducing all of these vintage metal bands that maybe never got the audience they deserved the first time around. Stainless Steel have stuck with the metal they began their career playing, so old fans need not worry about innovation or an evolving sound. This is the album they would have released in 1989 had they stayed together. Many leading German bands today are power metal, so newer fans might enjoy a taste of what German metal sounded like before Helloween, more basic and less refined. The passion the band brings to this retro-revival is unmistakable and makes for an enjoyable listen, particularly in getting your Oktoberfest beverage consumption under way.