With traditional metal making a comeback over the last several years, here comes Italy's Icy Steel with their second album As the God's Command. This is probably as 'old school' as gets with Icy Steel easily mixing classic NWOBHM with its American counterparts, and some more than subtle doses of stateside speed/thrash metal. There's a strong emphasis on the song composition, getting this traditional form of heavy metal right throughout. While many songs have lyrics and vocals, the majority are treatises in pure heavy metal instrumentality. Out of your Time and Mjöllnir are representative examples where the music trumps the vocal arrangements. Then there's the instrumental The Holy Sun, a pure piece of epic heavy metal mastery.
Overall, the emphasis on classic metal composition is a very good thing especially when accompanied by Stefano Galeano's better than average vocals. Sometimes unsteady, but most times quite engaging, Galeano can sound like James Hetfield only with some real range to his voice. However, he shows little success when he tries to scream (and continually so) like Halford as on the opening number Impetuous Fire. If it were not for the fine heavy metal, he would make this song unbearable. Conversely, when staying within his range, Galeano can be remarkable as on Out of Your Time and Fly Without Wings. And for a complete surprise, listen to him on There Was Once a Weeping Willow.
Returning to the music again, and as noted before, Icy Steel does not skimp on the metal. These are lengthy numbers, better than half the songs track over six minutes. They're packed full, sometimes with acoustic beginnings and segues, of what can only be called epic or grandiose heavy metal. But, hey, they're from Italy, the home of bombastic over-the-top metal made fa mouse by Rhapsody (of Fire). After the aforementioned songs, listen for the title track, in two parts, and The Commander.
If you can make it through the first track, and its poor screaming vocals, you will find Icy Steel's As the God's Commands to be a quite impressive and entertaining work of classic, and often epic, heavy metal. Very recommended.
You will find Icy Steel's As the God's Commands to be a quite impressive and entertaining work of classic, and often epic, heavy metal.
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