Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Steelwing - Zone Of Alienation

I suppose many of you are already aware of the expanding mass of Swedish traditional heavy metal bands, aside from the turbulent assault of Swedeath monsters. The scene never seems to dwindle and with every new band it grows stronger, even more robust then before, and this overgrowing tumor of bands also boasts the quality of older bands, thus giving birth to an abundance of quality bands. Steelwing made a strong enough appearance with the release of their debut ''Lord Of The Wasteland'', and while their sophomore may not be able to surpass the mark that the debut had set for itself, the sophomore still manages to come close. For people who have little idea of what Steelwing sound like, allow me to briefly explain. Steelwing have the obvious traits of heavy metal, and obvious influences that should bring Maiden and Priest to the mind of many. While they sound a lot like the acknowledged masters, Steelwing still bring a fair amount of melody and their own differing twists and turns into the music, creating something that's still relatively diverse yet succinct and comprehensible by pretty much any listener.

''Zone Of Alienation'' doesn't explore many various elements, and perhaps keeping the music a little too concise may have been a mistake, but in during the collision of harmonious melodies and catchy riffs, one scarcely notices the lack of creativity. Plus, you have to admit, this is music that just sounds better when its plain and not very complex, so I can't really deduct points from the band for sounding simple. I'll still persist on my opinion time to time, but all the positive factors of this album would easily cover up my theories. ''Zone Of Alienation'' is lyrically driven towards themes associated with space and all things alien, while the music is simply a soothing gust of wind that's flurried in a soft way, but at the same time slightly assorted in its own terms, repeatedly shifting between various tempos and styles that are all riffs that could be easily found on classic heavy metal releases, only offering a few peculiar attributes. Most tracks have the typical verse-bridge-chorus structures, plain but very enjoyable and memorable nonetheless, and chorus sequences are usually boasted with that epic power/heavy touch with long duration power chords flying around the high pitched vocals soaring over everything -- a beautiful sight.

The good thing about the album is that it's relaxed and never too serious so that it can have the same sort of effect on the listener, chilling his/her mind, and there's no desperate foraging or search for a crucial sound, so the band doesn't fail miserably while trying to attain something utterly different and complex. I love how spate, harmonious guitars linger around shortly along with the soft, chord driven passages. Steelwing is not a group that's up for violent, forceful music, and you should just let the gentle music ooze viscously and effortlessly, with no display of showing great force. Certain sections of ''The Running Man'' and ''Tokkotai (Wind Of Fury)'' are relatively rapid and spiky, while ''Full Speed Ahead'' is a song that's one with its name, showing some serious speed/heavy badassery and incredibly dynamic riffs, both strong and melodic, and the ten minute mega-chain ''Lunacy Rising'' links together everything that has already been offered on the album with almost unnoticeable, brief passages.

Steelwing did a bloody decent job with their sophomore effort, damn near to their astonishing debut. I hope that the waves of bands that come after this are just as good as Steelwing, for if they are the blossoming heavy metal scene in Sweden will suddenly turn into a bountiful treasure of bands. Steelwing are very good at what they do bringing all the common aspects of heavy metal then offering them in the best way possible, but the good thing is, there are scores of bands that play their metal very similar to Steelwing, and unless you didn't like this, you would torturing yourself by not listening to these other groups such as Katana, Portrait, In Solitude, Trial and many more. I'm almost ascertain that that these bands will continue to go ''Full Speed Ahead'', exhaling the enamoured sound of the 80's with ease.

Zone Of Alienation
Lunacy Rising
Full Speed Ahead

Rating: 87%

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