Despite Trampled Underfoot (Steelheart) 1998

1. ""Homeward Bound (No Life Found) " (4:39)
2. "Pride Takes the Fall" (7:39)
3. "Merchants of Death" (4:55)
4. "Thunder and Iron" (4:26)
5. "Higher" (6:22)
6. "Into the Night" (5:39)
7. "Captured" (8:54)
8. "Remembrance" (2:58)
9. "Poseidons Wrath" (3:13)

Who the heck are Trampled Underfoot? I had no idea either, but one thing I did know, Shawn Pelata from Oracle /K-Octave was their singer. On that fact alone I wanted to check this band out and immediately began my search for their music. Upon arrival I was a bit disappointed at first because Pelata is not singing on all the tracks. Despite this initial disappointment however, there was little else I didn't enjoy about this CD. Trampled Underfoot play high caliber, melodic/progressive metal. While I originally thought that Pelata would be the star of the show here, it is actually guitarist Kyle Harrison. Trampled Underfoot is his show and he doesn't let you forget it from the first note to the last. Everything from the rhythm playing to the shredding guitar leads are well executed and in your face! My first thought was that Kyle must have been a huge fan of Yngwie Malmsteen growing up. However, Trampled Underfoot are not a Malmsteen clone band. Far from it actually. OK, perhaps the instrumentals are built on that egomaniac guitar hero premise but overall Trampled Underfoot are far more song oriented and are truly more of a heavy metal band. Imagine crossing the pyrotechnics of Malmsteen with the progressive songwriting of Savatage and the commercial accessibility of Dokken and you might get a picture of this band. Of course having Shawn Pelata sing half the tunes here doesn't hurt either. Shawn has such a great classic metal voice. Despite my disappointment that Shawn wasn't behind the microphone on all the songs, both vocalists are strong and add to the songs. This reissue re-arranges the song order a bit from the original Pony Canyon release. Personally I think this was for the best as "Merchants of Death", one of the strongest and most aggressive tracks on the disc is now the lead of song. Pelata just wails on this speed metal opus. Track two features the other vocalist, whose name I could not seem to locate in the liner notes. His voice is a bit more gritty than Shawn's and adds a bit of variety to the overall sound. "Pride Will Fall" is an excellent metal ballad that fluctuates between mellow acoustic passages and the heavy mid-paced chorus. The acoustic solo in the middle of the song is mind blowing. This epic track is one of the standout cuts on the disc. "Captured" is another standout cut. This song is also a blend of crushing heavy metal and acoustic passages. After a short somber instrumental, the disc finishes out on a heavy note. "Posidon's Wrath" is an full throttle, galloping power metal number complete with fantasy based lyrics. Trampled Underfoot is one of the unsung heroes of the metal underground. Grab this European import before it's gone.

I contacted Shawn Pelata about his absence on several tracks on this disc and he had this to say:
"I sang on 3 of the 7 songs with vocals, or I should say, they only kept me on those 3 songs. I sang them all in the studio. But at the time, I was not the official singer. I had been out of the band for quite a while when they asked if I would come sing on the CD. The other singer was their "official" singer at the time. I sing on "Merchants Of Death", "Higher" and "Captured"."

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