Steel Prophet - The Goddess Principle (Brainstorm) 1995
1. "Reign of Christ"
Once again, this is one of those discs that I have bid on several times on eBay but those silly bidders always push the thing up way beyond what it is worth. I finally secured real copy through a friend from Germany. (Thanks again Olaf.) This was the band's first full length album and features two tracks ("Parthenogenesis" & "Reign of Christ") from their "Visions of Force" demo. Despite the weak production, this is a stellar power metal release with helium high vocals, biting guitar solos and heavy, galluping rhythms. This disc features guitarist Horacio Colmenares, who went on to form New Eden.
Steel Prophet - Into the Void (Hallucinogenic Conception) (Brainstorm Division)
As if it weren't 1997 and grunge hadn't destroyed the popularity of metal in the U.S., Steel Prophet come galloping out of the fences with one fine heavy metal platter. I love a band that sticks to their sound despite insipid trends. Steel Prophet are often labeled progressive metal, but I have a hard time defining them as such, although there are certainly some progressive influences. There are also some speed metal influences here and there as well, especially in some of the guitar work. However, "Into the Void" is just pure, unadulterated, heavy metal. Rick Mythiasin's vocals are just soaring on this one like he had something to prove. Certainly he proved himself here. Within the first song he is hitting notes that would break glass, while at the same time having control. Rick is a great vocalist. One of my favorite tracks on this CD is "What's Behind the Veil's". This song starts off as a heavy, chugging number that will instigate spontaneous headbanging. However, a few air raid sirens later and the band rips into perhaps one of the fastest songs that band has written. Just an outstanding song. Also included on this CD is Steel Prophet's killer cover of Iron Maiden's "Ides of March/Purgatory." Once again, Mythiasin proving himself to be a top rate vocalist with a performance that outdoes the original. (Is that blasphemy or what?) This album also featured Agent Steel guitarist Bernie Versaille as a guest musician on "Hate2". Overall, a solid album by a great band. It's a shame that this CD isn't more easily available. It actually took me a long time to finally secure a copy. (thanks Olaf!)
Steel Prophet - Dark Hallucinations (Nuclear Blast) 1999
True metal at it's best. Steel Prophet is a name that I had heard of but never actually heard until they started putting songs on just about every heavy metal "tribute" cd that came out. Thing about their covers were that they were usually the best songs on the compilations. For an example, see the Dwell Dio tribute in my tribute section. In any case, this is an excellent album, sort of like early Fates Warning but heavier. Speaking of Fates Warning, "The Apparition" is a killer Fates cover. My copy is a German import digi-pack and includes the bonus track "Ride the Sky," a Helloween cover. Oh, I should also mention bassist Vince Dennis also played bass for Tourniquet for a spell.
By the strength of this CD, I will invest some time into finding their other discs as well.
Steel Prophet - Messiah (Nuclear Blast) 2000
of March" (3:56)
Steel Prophet brings progressive power metal into the new Millennium with their second full length disc for Nuclear Blast. This one follows up well their last speed metal masterpiece. Lots of double bass, awesome clean vocals, crunchy guitars and dynamic song writing. This is one band I am glad reunited. Take note, the band did not try to go for the "modern" sound to gain a new audience, rather they stayed true their style and now have a steadily growing fan base.
Steel Prophet - Genesis (Nuclear Blast) 2000
1. "Death" (4:49)
I'm a sucker for cover albums by bands I already like, especially when they are covering bands that I also favor. It goes without saying that Steel Prophet releasing a compilation of SOME of the covers off the various tribute discs they have been on is a must have. Steel Prophet are fans of heavy metal, so they pick excellent covers and they do a great job at them. Add to that the first six tracks from the "Inner Ascendance " demo (circa 1994) and you have one killer heavy metal platter. The cover tracks: "Fast As A Shark" (Accept), "Gangland" and "Ides Of March/Purgatory" (Iron Maiden), "Fade To Black" (Metallica), "Dreamer , Deceiver" (Judas Priest), "Neon Knights" (Black Sabbath) and, strangely enough "Forget About Me" by Simple Minds. Doesn't sound like it fits, does it? Brought back scary memories of "The Breakfast Club." YIKES! This is now the fourth disc I own with the same version of "Neon Knights," as it has also appeared on two Black Sabbath tributes as well as a Dio tribute. Minor complaint, I wonder why they didn't put their Fates Warning cover ("The Apparition") and their Helloween cover ("Ride the Sky") on this disc as well. Another excellent German import brought to me by Olaf!
Steel Prophet - Book of the Dead (Nuclear Blast) 2001
1. "When Six Was
"Book of the Dead" is one of those cds that people seem to either love or hate. Some hardcore fans claimed it just wasn't the same as past discs, while others praised the band for adding a bit more diversity to their already proficient power metal sound. Dare I say the overall sound was a tad bit more modern. One noticeable difference is in the vocals, which while still being quite melodic and well sung, are more in the mid-range, with less ear-piercing screams than in the past. (Although "Escaped" may be the exception to this as Rick's vocals tend to go up in the rafters here and there.) "Book of the Dead" is surprisingly more aggressive than past offerings as well. Along with the normal mid-paced power metal numbers like "When Six Was Nine" the band has added some fast-paced, speed-metal numbers like "Phobia" and "Tragic Flaws", as well as some more melancholy moments. I must admit though, that while I love this disc, I am not going to claim it is the most original music in the world. Steel Prophet proudly revisit metal of the past. Occasionally different bands came to mind while playing this disc. During "Church of Mind" for instance I was reminded of early Fates Warning and during "Locked Out" I had visions of Dream Theater. Despite this fact, I still think that "Book of the Dead" is one of the band's best discs. The songwriting is catchy, the production is stellar, and the band is unashamedly a heavy metal band. I must also ad that the packaging is quite nice. I always enjoy when bands comment on their songs in the liner notes.
Steel Prophet - Unseen (Nuclear Blast) 2002
1. "Truth" (4:45)
The end of an era for Steel Prophet as this is to be the last recording with vocalist Rick Mythiasin. Apparently there was a lot of turbulance in the band, and I may be mistaken, but that turbulance comes out in the recording. "Unseen" doesn't fail to deliver the same intense power metal as past discs. "Rainwalker" is probably the standout cut on this one. The thing is though, as much as it pains me to say this about a band I like so much, this disc just doesn't seem to have the same charisma as the band's past few CDs. The thing about it is, I can't really explain why. While discs like "Dark Hallucinations" and "Book of the Dead" were immediate favorites, "Unseen" took a while to grow on me at all. Even after multiple plays, however, I just can't seem to get into this one like some of the others. Wish I had better words to explain what I am wanting to say, but I don't. I really don't think "Unseen" is a bad CD. As a matter of fact, I think it's a better power metal album than much of the carbon copy stuff I have heard. However, it would not be the disc I would introduce somebody to the band with
Steel Prophet - Beware (Nightmare Records) 2004
There are two version of this CD released. The American version on Nightmare Records included a bonus disc entitled "Eyes Of The Prophet (Visions Past)". The European release on Massacre includes a bonus DVD. I opted for the American version since I tend to listen to CDs far more than I spend time watching DVDs. Of course the biggest and most noticable change here is that the signature vocals of Rick Mythiasin are absent as he left to join another Steel Prophet veteran (Horacio Colmenares) in New Eden in 2002. The band now sports a revised lineup, including vocalist Nadir D'Priest, guitarist Pete Skermetta, and former drummer Kevin Cafferty. D'Priest formerly sang for London and D'Priest, but is probably most known for his role in the Decline of Western Civilization, Part 2: the Metal Years. "Beware" also marks the end of an era for the band as they finally parted way with longtime label, Nuclear Blast. So with all the changes "Beware" marks a new chapter in the band. However, I must confess that upon first listen I was a bit disappointed. It's not that the music is bad, but Rick's vocals were a key ingredient in what I liked about Steel Prophet. I am sure that Nadir will forever live under the shadow of Mythiasin, not unlike Blaze Bayley or Tim Owens. Of course I can get beyond that. So, what about the new voice of Steel Prophet? Nadir D'Priest has a surprisingly suitable style and strong voice that fits in well with the band's classic power metal sound. Musically, "Beware" didn't grab me by the jugular like early favorites "Dark Hallucinations" or "Messiah", however this one is a grower. The more spins I gave this CD the more I warmed up to it and began discovering gems like album opener "Heavenly" and the stellar single "Leatherette". (The European editions of the album contains a complimentary DVD video clip of "Leatherette.) Ahh, but let's not forget that the American release comes with an added bonus disc. "Eyes Of The Prophet (Visions Past)" is a disc rich with pre-D'Priest rarities, both live and demo cuts. The sound quality varies from song to song which is unfortunate, but then this disc is more for hardcore fans than audiophiles anyhow. The booklet contains a short, track by track write-up as well, which was a nice addition. So, while I would not call "Beware" the band's best disc, it certainly isn't bad either. Perhaps this is not the Steel Prophet that I have loved all these years but "Beware" is a solid heavy metal platter.
1. Trickery of The Scourge (4:17)
"Omniscient" is the eighth full-length album from US power metal band Steel Prophet. It's been a full decade since the band's last full-length album "Beware". Steel Prophet were on of the few American bands flying their metal banner high in the 1990's and released some of the finest U.S. power metal during that musically depressive era. They ended that long run through the 1990's and into the 2000's with "Beware" (2004), but it did not include that band's charismatic vocalist Rick Mythiasin. After their long hiatus, they return in 2014 and fortunately vocalist Rick Mythiasin returned with them. I was anxious to hear this full record, especially after seeing and hearing the humorous "666 is Everywhere (The Heavy Metal Blues)" video which was released as a teaser for this record. "Omniscient" is exactly what anyone might expect from the California heavy metal legends; power metal with the occasional progressive twist. Steve Kachinsky’s guitar playing is as fluid and technical as ever without being so over-the-top that it becomes boring.
The album clocks in at just over and hour and includes a ton of new material as well as a metal-ized cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". The album opens with two of the albums best tracks, "Trickery of The Scourge" and the uptempo "When I Remake the World (A Key Flaw)". Both are exactly what I could hope for from Steel Prophet. Another standout killer includes "Through Time and Space". "The Tree of Knowledge" is the album's single and it's a solid representation of the moody, Priest meets early Maiden charm that Steel Prophet exudes. It's odd that it wasn't the first video they released prior to the album rather than an odd track such as the aforementioned "666 is Everywhere (The Heavy Metal Blues)". It and the follow-up short piece "Oleander Deux" are definitely some of the odder tracks on the album. I have to admit, as much as I've read how people hate the 666 song, I think it's a fun and memorable song, mocking the clichés in heavy metal.
I've always liked Steel Prophet's cover songs, of which they have done many. "Bohemian Rhapsody" is a tough and iconic song to cover. They do a decent job with it, but to be honest, it's one of my least favorite songs on the album and just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the album.
I basically wrote Steel Prophet off as dead but am glad they are back. "Omniscient" won't replace "Dark Hallucinations" as my favorite from this band, but it's a strong album nonetheless.
1. The God Machine (3:21)
The God Machine marks the ninth studio album for Steel Prophet and a return after a nearly five years since their last studio album. "The God Machine" sees the band getting a bit of a make-over. Of course the biggest and most unmistakable difference in their sound is the addition of R.D. Liapakis (Mystic Prophecy) replacing iconic vocalist Rick Mythiasin in their line-up. As well, despite the fact that The God Machine is unmistakably classic metal in its construction, from a song-writing and production standpoint it is much more polished. The songs are overall less complex and progressive than previous efforts. While it is hard to put into words the difference, it's almost like comparing Iron Maiden's Seventh Son to their first four records. While Seventh Son certainly is traditional heavy metal and sounds like Iron Maiden, it is more polished and slightly more commercial than Killers and Number of the Beast. Much like this comparison, The God Machines sports a cleaner overall production replacing the more gritty low end that the band is known for.
So does this all mean that it's a bad record? Heck no! The God Machine is an out-and-out killer heavy metal record. Steel Prophet still knows how to compose and they haven't lost their ability to craft good songs. Songs like "Between Love and Hate" have huge hooks, thanks in part to Mr. Liapakis. Also the band knows how that a true masterpiece of metal has peaks and valleys. The God Machine offers mid-paced numbers like "Buried and Broken" but also speedy tracks like the opening title track. There are catchy melodies that are textured with gorgeous harmonies and powerful crunchy guitar riffs. This is no where more evident than in songs like the aforementioned "Between Love and Hate" as well as on "Thrashed Relentlessly."
The God Machine is definitely a more modern sound blending elements of heavy metal and power metal with some thrash influences as well. While longtime fans will probably lament the loss of Rich Mythiasin and the more progressive songwriting, fans of more traditional heavy metal are going to find much to like here.