By Sean Palmerston
Chances are that unless you followed Metal Blade’s Metal Massacre compilations back in the mid-eighties you may have never heard Steel Assassin. Based in the Boston area, the band was most active between the years of 1983 and 1987 but never managed to record and release a proper full-length album, with their one contribution to Metal Massacre VI being just about the only thing known of the band outside of New England. In the twenty years since, the band made a few attempts to reform but things didn’t work out, until they finally got their shit together in 2005 and did it right. The results, some twenty-five years after the band first joined forces, proves that for once the wait was definitely worth it. While listening to this album takes me back a few decades to when Iron Maiden and Jag Panzer ruled my ghetto blaster, the band has updated their power metal stylings in such a way that this stuff doesn’t sound like a cheap throwback. This new version of the band features four-fifths of the original line up – only vocalist John Falzone isn’t an original member – and they know their metal inside and out. Falzone sounds like a cross between Jag Panzer’s Harry ‘the Tyrant’ Conklin and Anthrax vocalist John Bush in his prime. His delivery is spot on throughout, as is the music. Songs like “Hill of Crosses” and “Hawkwood” are instant classics that will have even the most jaded old school metal fan taking notes. Kudos to power metal specialty label Sentinel Steel for unleashing this beast, it was definitely worth the wait.
Originally published by exclaim.ca