Release DetailsLABEL Nightmare
RELEASED ON 9/11/2004
posted on 9/2004 By:
Being at the steeple of the U.S. power metal scene for nearly a decade now, the Steel Prophet legacy has been on some what of a downward spiral for the last few years. Amid fruitless efforts to duplicate the success of their earlier works like Dark Hallucinations and Messiah, creative tensions within the group manifested and saw the exit of vocalist Rick Mythiasin in 2002. Finally, after fulfilling their contractual commitments, the band parted ways with long time label Nuclear Blast, leaving them in search of a new harbor for a seemingly sinking ship. Would there be light at the end of the tunnel for this broken band or would the uphill battle persist?
With a revised lineup, including vocalist Nadir D'Priest, guitarist Pete Skermetta, and former drummer Kevin Cafferty, Steel Prophet now hang their hat at Nightmare Records in America and Massacre Records for other parts of the planet. Is this new chapter a milestone in the band's career or continued failure and disappointment? Honestly, it's a little bit of both. Seven of the ten tracks on Beware are well written with few flaws to report, however, the quandaries that are plainly noticeable lie in their execution. Notably, the lead guitar work is substantially sloppy and mediocre, for the most part. For an outfit that could easily be classified as veteran, at times they sound like newcomers here, lacking the tightness that of an act who's been in the game for so long. On top of some shoddy musicianship, the album loses points for a muddy production treatment that is not so keen to the ears. Presumably, the band was vested a significantly smaller budget than granted in the past, and they did the best with what they had to work with.
So, what about the new voice of Steel Prophet, you ask? Nadir D'Priest has a surprisingly suitable style that fits right in with the current stage of the band's history. If you could conceive a mosaic of Sean Peck (Cage) and Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil), then you'd have a fair sense of what you're in for. Though he delivers his vocals well, it's difficult to not deem him as just another Blaze Bayley or Tim Owens. Still, he is a welcomed, yet reluctant addition to the fold.
Highlighting Beware is the shining lead single titled "Leatherette", in which the European and Asiatic editions of the album contains a complimentary DVD video clip of said track. For those of us who reside in the states, we are given the gift of memory in the form of Eyes Of The Prophet (Visions Past), a disc rich with pre D'Priest rarities, both live and demo cuts, that only validate the missing link. The bonus set doesn't suggest any evidence of remastering, and has an overall production that isn't far off from its companion full-length.
Even though this is not the Steel Prophet that we have praised for all these years, Beware is a sizable step forward from Unseen, and that's saying a lot.
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