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Sweden's Steelwing have exploded onto the heavy metal scene with this astonishing and memorable release Lord of the Wasteland. Here we have the perfect mix of an old school style of metal blended in with everything modern in metal, especially the better recording and production available.
With a Mad Max atmosphere the album starts with an intro which really does make you believe that you just landed in a wasteland. This leads right into Headhunter which is a proper headbanger in which it details the brutality of anarchy. Riley has such an impressive vocal range he makes it seem effortless to belt out notes that are on par with Rob Halford of Judas Priest. The Wasteland and survival concept of this album is very well thought out, it isn't 100% unique but they have done well to stick to the theme and not stray from it. This really shows on songs like Under a Scavenger Sun (which has the most amazing scream at the beginning) and Roadkill, making you understand what it is like to be under the merciless blazing heat of a desert sun and what it's like to have vultures circle you before you are even dead.
The lyrics are well written and are more like stories. The lyrics are mostly written by Riley however all the other members get an input on some songs such as The Illusion. Clash of Two Tribes draws you into its story of a man telling his son how the world fell into chaos due to ideologies and political tensions. Robby Rockbag and Alex Vega, the lords of shred, write all the music. Every song has crushing riffs and memorable hooks just like The Nightwatcher which also has appropriately placed bells giving it an epic feel like Metallica's For Whom The Bell Tolls. Everything just falls in place on this album. Even the cover artwork is awesome.
Sporting the leather jackets, studded wristbands, studded belts, leather trousers and long hair they also make a very solid live show where the musicianship is excellent and no song gives them trouble.
So to conclude, old school with modern twists and influences. Buckets of skills. It is a must have in any collection. Honestly I can't even think of anything that is wrong with it, even the long songs, which could make people bored, are unique and keep you interested the whole time. For fans of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.
It's madness to the max! Stomping at 200 MPH out of Sweden is Steelwing, one of a number of NWOTHM bands to pop up during the last few years. As far as I'm concerned, these guys are up there with fellow Swedes Enforcer at the forefront of the movement. But what makes these guys so different is their concept and song structure, which is just so fucking great.
The best I can describe Steelwing is if one took the structure and power of a Metal Church epic and gave it the attitude and speed of a Priest or Maiden song, all tied around an interesting post-apocalyptic concept. The result: big, glorious riff and solo-heavy songs that, while lengthy, never, ever sound tiresome or boring. Main vocalist Riley has soaring, high-pitched power metal vocals that are pretty standard of the movement. He keeps it this way most of the time but can let loose one hell of a shriek or some good growls when the time calls for it. Guitarists Alex Vega and Robby Rockbag are the stars here; lots of awesome, melodic solos, riffs and twin-guitar attacks from these guys make them an unforgettable force. The next Downing/Tipton? Maybe not, but damn close! Bassist Skurk is also probably one of the better bassists of the NTOTHM. He can dish some catchy riffs himself, and his powerful bass is crunchy but clean enough as not too be overly teutonic or something. The weakest link here is Oscar Astedt on the skins. He's not bad per say, but he mostly just keeps the beat; nothing too fast or technical here.
These songs...are all pretty much perfect. Most of 'em have a running time between 5 and 7 minutes, allowing for those riffs and solos. The album starts short with a neat instrumental entitled "Enter The Wasteland", and it just gets better from here. "Roadkill (...Or Be Killed)" has a monster of a memorable chorus, fast drumming and Maiden-like speed and guitars. The fantastic "Sentinel Hill" has an unforgettable riff, one hell of a solo and some good mid-range vox from Riley. Longest song "Under The Scavenger Sun" has super heavy bass that's really memorable (probably the best on the album), one of Riley's best screams and yet another good riff. Hell, all these fuckers rule!
Nine songs; a classic. Overall, this, I think, is a modern classic. It's big but fast heavy metal with more riffs and solos than you can shake a drumstick at. The post-apocalyptic concept, lyrics and vocals will blow you outta your living room. Make this a part of your collection ASAP; if you truly value traditional heavy metal, you won't be sorry.
After this hell of groove, gaycore, post-shit, black, industrial, nu, electronic and other commercial crappy shit bands, finally we have new bands to defend the name of the greatest music genre ever - heavy metal. After those bands in 90's who started playing true heavy metal music like Gamma Ray, HammerFall, Sonata Arctica, Firewind, Nevermore, Nightwish, and other heavy metal musicians, also in 00's bands like Ensiferum, Lordi, Wintersun, Sabaton, Saint Deamon, Bloodbound, came an explosion of bands that play classic heavy metal. Steelwing is one of those bands, and they seem very promising after they have released this classic heavy metal masterpiece. This band has sound, dressing style and attitude of bands from 80's, but yet they have their own spice which makes them different from this generation of new bands like Striker, Gallows End, Enforcer, Cauldron etc. There were newer bands like Wolf and Metal Inquisitor in late 90's and in early 00's that actually played classic heavy metal, but they didn't have quality like this, and back then classic heavy metal was not much appreciated because of the poser scene.
Clash Of The Two Tribes, Under The Scavenger Sun, The Nightwatcher and Sentinel Hill are songs longer than 5 minutes which proves that band doesn't want commercial approach. They don't want to limit their creativity with shorter songs. Vocals are not pop-ish, but very powerful, manly, with high register, so do not expect Kotipelto or any other singers like that. Occasional rhythm changes, sometimes so very well done you won't notice them, galloping drums and cool drum work in general. Heavy, creative guitar riffs and fast guitar solos with 80's vibe, which are very enjoyable and interesting. Lyrics are post-apocalyptic ones, but this is not concept story album, and it's interesting to hear something different. Enter The Wasteland+Headhunter, Roadkill (...Or Be Killed), Sentinel Hill, The Illusion are powerful and aggressive songs which will occupy every listener's attention after the very first listen. Other songs are awesome too, but not that memorable because of their progressive nature which consists of massive tempo and mood changes. After few serious listens, you will reveal their perfection.
Good sides of this release:
Everything is perfectly balanced, riffs, melodic leads, guitar solos, well-written lyrics and manly, powerful, high-pitched vocals with aggressive screams. Every single song is perfect, there's nothing I would change about this whole thing. This studio album is a must have, and you can't do no wrong if you get this one.
Bad sides of this release:
Every single song.