So what makes alternative metal 'alternative.' Hold that thought; we'll come back to it. Here's Steel City, from Crema Italy, not far away from Milan, with their first full-length album, Now It's Time. Promotional script has the band compared to modern and 'alternative' bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, and Alter Bridge (really? alternative?), but also Nineties crossover bands like Machine Head and Faith No More. You're probably curious now. Those are big shoulders to stand on.
Frankly, it's not reasonable to compare Steel City to any of those bands. But in their case, since this is how they're being marketed, what makes them an alternative metal band? Is there maybe some nu-metal twinge with rap vocals, maybe thrashy hardcore riffs and vocals, or possibly something else? Generally, for Steel City, being alternative comes down to the vocals.
Fabio Riccio, a so-called crossover vocalist, tries his best to add, to his generally clean delivery, some 'core' and 'screamo' vocals. It's with little success. The reason is simple. There are some modern metal nuances in the music, some hardcore thrashiness in occasional breakdowns, for example. But Steel City, with its inherent sense of melody and skillful guitar solos, is simply a melodic heavy metal band. The music is the obvious star here. Riccio becomes at worst, a sideshow or addendum to the music; at best, the necessary element to market to current modern metal trends. Alternatively, having said this, when he minimizes the 'modern' or 'alternative' vocals, and sings clean with power and emotion as on Where Is My Home, he defeats the predictably of those same trends. But even on this song he can't help himself: he must go screamo.
But, fundamentally, returning to an aforementioned point, escaping the vocals, the metal of Now It's Time is quite enjoyable and entertaining, sometimes even compelling. Good examples include the title track, I Don't Belong, No One's Guilty, and Mandagora, Black Heart Monster Tears, not so much. In the end, if you're interested in a band attempting to mix traditional melodic metal with some modern metal crossover elements, Steel City's Now It's Time is worth some time, perhaps more than a passing interest.
If you're interested in a band attempting to mix traditional melodic metal with some modern metal crossover elements, Steel City's Now It's Time is worth some time, perhaps more than a passing interest.
Mat Sinner is both an icon and legend in the German, and the larger European, hard rock and heavy metal scene. Cranking out music since 1982, Sinner is an industrious and prolific musician and producer whether through his namesake band, the heavy metal heroes Primal ... [ Read More ]