Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Steel Attack - Fall Into Madness

They've been around for nearly a decade and have had many line-up switcheroos, yet this is only Steel Attack's second album, after a debut called Where Mankind Fails. And Fall Into Madness marks yet another change as this lead singer has already left. In any event, the band create speedy, machine-gun riffed epic metal that is flawlessly produced wholly committed to the glory of blazing harmony riffs. One thinks Gamma Ray first off, due to a locked-down, no-noise drum efficiency perfect for this sort of swords a' lashing true metal vision. Not a big fan of the genre, but I like the velocities here and like I say, the band layers and lathers in (rinse, repeat) a bathtub full of twin leads. See the informative, official www.steelattack.com for all sorts of subplots.
Rating 7

Gamma - 4
(Dream Catcher)

After getting over the initial shock of the first four seconds being by far the heaviest bit o' crumpet on the album, I eased in and let my disappointments shed - not all of them - but many, even most of them. Ronnie is an enigma, no question, so one shouldn't have expected a Gamma album too closely aligned with either of the two directions on the past three spanning '79 to '82. But the production is rich, full-bodied, even directly in line with Gamma 1 and 2, the guitar, er, present and various, the horns and such too present and vocalist Davey PattisonÉ well, you can never have enough of this pure magic vocal legend. The sum total of this album is like muscular, funky veteran blues Hughes rock, mixed with prog, mixed with balladry, of which 'Prayers' is an amazing, compassionate example. It's like a sampling from the Bad Co. Buffet Co., the Paul era, the hair era, the revivalist era, swirled with a rule-breakable flair for drama, as found drastically on 'Darkness To Light', 'Out Of These Hands' and beautifully textured closer 'Low Road Home'. Verdict: the horns songs blow (!) and don't fit to boot, but elsewhere, it's all admiration from this end, Ronnie finding a way to emit thick rumbles without resorting to heavy metal, a term for which Ronnie is none to fond. See www.ronnieland.com or www.dreamcatcher-records.com for more info.
Rating 7.5

Hard Reviews Page 6