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I'm the creation, thunder and fate. - 80%

Diamhea, October 21st, 2016

The unimaginatively titled Steel Warrior satiated my hunger for dexterous South American power metal on Army of the Time sometime last year, but they weren't quite done hammering us with their rapid fire assault just yet, as Legends demonstrates in crystal clear fashion. While the production values are down all across the board, from the breadth of sound to the downright atrocious CGI cover art, Steel Warrior are in as fine form as ever musically. The weakest link is naturally vocalist Fabian, whose strained pipes are merciful enough to add well-integrated grit while offering little else in terms of power. The production saps what little potential he has, leaving an understated and aloof performance overshadowed (thankfully), by the remainder.

Steel Warrior are a deft amalgamation of power and speed metal, blessed with a heavy hand and the agility to hammer away with blistering speed metal brilliance whenever needed. The meager, lo-fi production unknowingly suits this style very well insofar as the darker vibe. The band has that horn-raising anthem ready sound at times, with bruising, knuckle-cracking riffs laced with Teutonic brilliance, like on the aptly-titled "Bang Your Head." A true pit churner, this proves that Steel Warrior are more than your typical reedy-sounding South American power metal export. The harmonised backing vocals are a stellar inclusion, and this is easily the standout of the album. Legends' imperial-sounding, thematic gait summons epic overtones, one that screams for a thicker and more prominent guitar sound. Parallels to Germany's Wizard can be spotted all over this thing, like on the swirling mass of steel that is "Holy Murder." Other standouts include the lead-swarming "The Witch and the Cross" and the soaring masterpiece that is the cryptically titled "Vodu."

Other than the proclivity for the vocals to grow tiring on the longplay, Legends proves that Steel Warrior are consistent songsmiths. The brothers Yu don't form the most dynamic tandem ever, but their brand of power metal is more than serviceable. These guys should bear innate appeal to those weaned on more standard European power metal, as Steel Warrior take a lot from the German scene in particular. Legends feels like it has a lot of classic metal influence as well, with lots of rocking, down-and-dirty bruisers like the main riff of "Metal Rebel," which could easily be misconstrued as a Scorpions cover (or something) due to the grittiness and style. Finally, lyrics are a mixed bag, with Fabian losing interest whenever forced to repeat cornball tropes, emphasizing staleness.

Either way, Steel Warrior are fluent in the glorious and rocking, even at the risk of coming off a bit standard to many ears. I guess I don't ask for too much eclecticism in this style, and that is why the blue-collar German approach appeals to me so much. As a purveyor of the same aesthetic, it's nice to see Steel Warrior crank out three well above average records, but where did these guys go? Being prone to convention is not inherently bad, and the material here proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Fingers crossed for a comeback album.