Steel Prophet – “Into The Void / Continuum” RE-ISSUE (Pure Steel Records)
Hot off the release of this year’s release “Omniscient”, which was Steel Prophet’s first studio release in 10 years, comes this re-issue made up of 1997’s album “Into The Void” along with 1996’s EP “Continuum”. For those new to the band, Steel Prophet are a legendary US power metal band who go back to 1984, when they were founded by guitarist Steve Kachinsky Blackmoor. “Into The Void” was a pivotal release in the band’s career, heralding a change in their sound which hitherto had appealed to fans of Fates Warning, but now incorporated a heavier and more significant Iron Maiden influence. From Rick Mythiasin’s wailing siren vocals to the melodic riffing and dual soloing from guitarists Chris Schleyer and the aforementioned Kachinsky it was no better exemplified than in their cover of ‘Ides of March / Purgatory’. Even after all these years it’s a hard hitting album with frenetic moments such as on ‘Environmental Revolt’ during which the intricate guitars and operatic backing vocals contrast with heavy chopping riffs and James Schultz’s smashing drums, not to mention his driving double bass work! When not in speedy delivery, Steel Prophet equally show their measure on slower, heavier songs like the quasi doom ‘Passage of Time (Amber Leaves)’ with its sombre cemetry mood and wailing solos that bear close relationship to those of Candlemass, who formed in the same year. Complete with the original production that has also withstood the test of time along with their far ahead of time epic song structures, Steel Prophet continue their fine legacy as a cult band and this bargain re-issue only serves as further proof that they are one of the most underrated bands in the genre.