Steel Messiah – Of Laser and Lightning (Self-Released)Tuesday, 14th February 2017
A German four-piece forming in 2014, Steel Messiah champion the ideals of 80’s-oriented classic metal on their first five song foray Of Laser and Lightning. It’s fairly clear right out of the gate that these gentlemen raise their fists with iron in the blood and the glory of the genre at heart – especially taking a gander at song titles like “Dr. Steel” and “Motorcycle Maniac”, with lyrics about living a fast, hard, and metal-fueled life.
Certain problems abound though that can make enjoyment a bumpy ride. Although Mortiz Nothhelfer gets credit as Steel Messiah’s drummer, there has to be a programming element as the manufactured double bass that penetrates “Bringer of Pain” comes off as very basic without any ingenuity, flatlining any guitar or vocal action. And then there’s the singing to shrieking nature of bassist Marius Röntgen, who can instantly transform his voice from a melodic crooner to a savage banshee, without rhyme or reason other than to ascend an octave out of range. When you are Rob Halford or King Diamond, it makes sense – but Marius doesn’t possess those key note holding abilities necessary to keep “Fast ‘n’ Sharp” out of nails on a chalkboard torture. The main riffing in closer “Motorcycle Maniac” pushes things open highway roaring, something similar to what we’ve heard out of Bullet or even early 80’s Judas Priest – proving Steel Messiah can develop catchy ideas on a musical level and put them across convincingly when they want to.
At 23 minutes, Of Laser and Lightning gives listeners adequate songwriting to assess quality on their terms. Time will tell if Steel Messiah rise up the ranks or remains content to push things on a grassroots level – at this point though, the quartet appeal more on the music side than vocally, so most will probably place the band in a wait and see category.