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Steel Assassin - War of the Eight Saints

Label: Sentinel Steel Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba
"War of the Eight Saints" finally gets delivered after having been in the making for 25 years. Formed as a cover band in 1980 they became Steel Assassin in 1983. In 1984 they made an appearance on Metal Massacre 6 alongside heavyweights such as Dark Angel, Possessed, and Hallow’s Eve among others. After some demo tapes and live shows the band broke up in 1985 only to reunite in 1988 for some live shows before once again calling it quits until 2005. 2005 brought us 4 out of the 5 original members along with new singer John Falzone from Triphammer.

After doing a background check on this band and learning that this album was 25 years in the making I was quite excited for what was to come. Sadly lafter istening to the whole album twice there is nothing here that really made me say “wow”. Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying this is a bad album, it is rather solid. Great guitar work is present throughout the 64 minutes as well as some nice arrangements. The problem is there is nothing here that I have not heard before. Had this album been released in 1985 my opinion may be different. The way I look at it is more recent bands like Primal Fear, HammerFall, and Iron Savior have been doing this for the past 10 plus years and simply do it better. John Falzone has a similar style vocally to Bruce Dickinson at times but when he switches to a more gritty deeper voice I feel he is mediocre at best.

The 10 plus minute title track is the only stand out track to me on this album. It starts off with a slow build up but the use of thunder in the background was an excellent move by the band as they hint of the oncoming storm. Around the 1:40 mark the guitars make their arrival and prepare the listener furthermore for the heavy metal onslaught. John Falzone begins speaking at 2:40 as the build up continues just like Bruce Dickinson in “Hallowed Be Thy Name” before the song kicks in. At 3:33 the frenzy begins and this is overall a very good song with some great tempo changes. “Curse of the Black Prince” is also a very good track but sounds very similar to Running Wild in style. As a matter of fact this track could have probably been on “Under Jolly Roger” or “Port Royal”.

Overall this is an above average album just not quite what my ever growing metal hunger is looking for. Fans of Attacker, Overlorde, and Helstar will love this. Otherwise I will leave you with this… While Primal Fear and HammerFall are leading the ship through the waters of true heavy metal, Steel Assassin are somewhere in the back riding jet skis.

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