Steel Attack – Enslaved

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Reviewed: October 2004
Released: 2004, Arise Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Steel Attack’s new album ENSLAVED blew me away! I’ve been listening to it steady belt since it showed up in the mail. I have to come clean and mention my reference point with this band. I haven’t heard them since their 2nd album FALL INTO MADNESS. ENSLAVED is actually the fourth album from this Swedish band. At the time of FALL INTO MADNESS, I liked the band, but thought it a bit like ‘junior HammerFall’ and didn’t offer something that would break them out from the second-tier of power metal bands. Well, how things have changed as Steel Attack has reinvented themselves with a much heavier sound. Some close comparisons I can think of are perhaps Eidolon or Lost Horizon, in terms of a reference point of the quality and heaviness factor…not that the bands sound that much alike. The guitar tone on ENSLAVED is brutal. It does not sound like a typical over-produced slick power metal band, but rips, bites, and slices with 100% pure metallic passion and steel. The other big change is in the vocal department. Their previous singers were great and all, but new singer Ronny Hemlin (joined in late 2003) takes Steel Attack to the next level with a powerful voice that has elements of Dickinson & Halford, but does not sound like a copy of any particular vocalist. In a few places he even throws in the occasional death-ish growl.

The album begins with the “Gates of Heaven” and a guitar riff that immediately takes hold and brings that old heavy metal grin to my face. From the opener, to the album closer the pedal is never let up. All songs are aggressive but all are not necessarily the same speedy tempo. The next thing that grabbed my ear is the intro to “Out of the Flames” which has some guitar runs that are just mind-blowing. The way the drums follows the run is very cool and sounds tightly executed. “Forsaken” has some killer vocals, the chorus with the line “Show me the way…” is incredible. This track reminded me a little of another of my favorite bands, Lost Horizon. The vocals in the album’s title track, “Enslaved”, also remind me of Lost Horizon. “Immortal Hate” is the track with the most prominent death metal styled vocal lines sounding like the dude from Vader joined them in the studio. The leads again in this one are deadly. The death vocal style also appear in “Son of a Thousand Souls” which at times sounds brutal and then sounds like some kinda heavy prog…very cool.

Lyrically this album has a lot of religious references, as does the cover art. My copy has no lyrics, so I can’t tell you if they are Christian metallers or anti-religion….somehow I believe it to be the latter (with a title like “enslaved” it’s not hard to guess), but I don’t care since the musicianship and songs alone make this a must hear for fans of aggressive power metal. If you had previously shelved Steel Attack under happy power metal or HammerFall followers, you should update your opinion with their new album ENSLAVED.


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Track Listing:
1. Gates of Heaven
2. Out of the Flames
3. Forsaken
4. Bless My Sins
5. Immortal Hate
6. Son of a Thousand Souls
7. Enslaved
8. Voices
9. When you dream

Johan Jalonen – guitar
Mike Steel – drums
Ronny Hemlin – vocals
John Allan – guitar
Anden Andersson – bass


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