I had to look up their location. Icy Steel, a traditional heavy metal band comes from the city of Sassari on the island of Sardinia. I think that's a first for Dangerdog Music Reviews. I can't recall reviewing a band from that island. Nevertheless, whether it's their proximity to Italy or it's something in the water, the influence of "keep true" heavy metal runs in Icy Steel's blood. Through The Ashes is their fourth long player, self-released and promoted through Germany's Pure Steel Promotion.
Now, as common in the digital and Internet age, I received my promotional copy as a digital EPK download. But the hard copy of Through The Ashes is actually two CDs, clocking in at a solid hour. And the two discs are substantially different. Disc one is an eight song collection of traditional melodic heavy and power metal. The second disc is a selection of five songs, largely acoustic and quieter in character. Additionally of the five songs two are instrumentals. At first I thought this a strange contrast. Yet, if you look at their Facebook page there are a number of posts that show Icy Steel doing acoustic shows.
As for their traditional heavy metal, Icy Steel basically invokes the spirit of the Eighties and NWoBHM influences. Their compositions focus on the basic elements: twin guitar harmony, shared leads, a rhythm section providing steadiness and groove, clean vocals, and a mixture of tempos. Icy Steel, as common of the genre, uses both riffage and, often in a breakdown, choral-like vocal arrangements to give their songs larger, even epic, feel. Additionally, also common in breakdowns, the band adds acoustic guitar elements to temper their power metal. Good examples include The Day Became Night, Last Thing To Destroy, and the metal anthem Today The Rain Cries.
As for the nearly acoustic disc, the first thing you notice is Stefano Galeano and Pietro Bianco's command of the acoustic guitar, which essentially forms and guides each song. The guitar style ranges from near folk to classical to some fusion of the two, with Inside The Glass Place being a fine example. I think, in the end, I might have been more impressed with this acoustic side of the band. (As an aside, the band should have invested in some better art work.)
All in all, Icy Steel's Through The Ashes is solid and entertaining set of classic "keep it true" heavy metal for fans of the same. Easily recommended.
Icy Steel's Through The Ashes is solid and entertaining set of classic "keep it true" heavy metal for fans of the same. Easily recommended.
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 ]