Release DetailsLABEL Underground Symphony
RELEASED ON 12/1/2006
By The Power Of Thunder
posted on 11/2007 By:
It's been a while since I've dove headfirst into bombastic power metal so I was a little weary about this debut from Steel Seal. After all, they're Italian (why is this country littered with so much third-rate symphonic metal?) and they're on some label called Underground Symphony. Things aren't looking too good for By the Power of Thunder from the outset.
Fortunately, these guys are keen songwriters and guitarist Marco Valerio Zangani is one talented bastard, so all the bullshit clouding my vision dissipates with time. "Anger Storm" is a good opener and is certainly a catalyst to this "declouding." It's epic, allows vocalist D.C. Cooper (Silent Force) to stretch his voice just enough to know he has some respectable pipes and even utilizes some tasteful keyboard solos. I had already decided to call this a pleasant surprise.
With a firm slap in the ass things really start to pick up with the second track, "Roncesvalle's Day." The first few seconds can be deceiving because it sounds uncharacteristically Maiden-like for this band, but as the layers build and the chorus takes shape you realize this is something entirely different; more modern, progressive. No, you're not going to get goose bumps or wait outside your local record store the night before the next Steel Seal album is released because this song is just that damn good, but you will notice an increase in the heaviness factor about now, and that's a thumbs up from me, at least.
The rest of the album goes through a similar cycle as the first two, which is to say that it alternates between overly epic numbers and the more immediate guitar showcase tracks, with the latter becoming more prevalent as By the Power of Thunder comes to a close. There's only one problem with this kind of predictability: It's boring! Without the vibrant dynamic that not knowing often brings, songs bleed together and listeners begin to tire of Cooper's sometimes tiring vocal patterns. Of course, it's kind of a minor issue in the scheme of things, but the mediocrity and relative lack of passion conveyed on record makes me hesitant to recommend Steel Seal's debut. Unless you're a huge power metal geek you would probably be better off not listening.
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