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Steelheart: Through The Worlds Of Stardust
Steelheart - Through The Worlds Of Stardust CD Album Review

Steelheart: Through The Worlds Of Stardust

Melodic Hard Rock
4.0/5.0

The story of Steelheart is something of hard rock legend. Led largely from its inception by vocalist Miljenko Matijevic, the band scored some success with their self-title debut album, then later with their hit single We All Die Young from 1996's Wait. That song showed up in the 2001 movie Rock Star, where Matijevic was the musical voice of actor Mark Wahlberg. Following the interest spurred by that resurrection, Steelheart dropped their fourth album Good 2B Alive in 2008. While never a massive success in the States, Steelheart remain musical champions in Asia, notably in South Korea and China. Now the band returns with Matijevic still at the helm to deliver Through The Worlds Of Stardust on Italy's Frontiers Music label.

Steelheart Band Photo

Steelheart

Essentially, Steelheart remains a vehicle for Matijevic's songwriting, production, and powerful musical voice. Actually, I found the best songs within this album to be those where his voice rose higher in the arrangements. But that's getting a bit ahead of things. First, the Steelheart sound is a twist of classic Eighties melodic rock with some modern rock heaviness, and then poured into an AOR wrapper. Then, generally speaking, Through The Worlds Of Stardust can be divided into three, possibly four, parts.

The first begins with the first four songs: Stream Line Savings, My Dirty Girl, Come Inside, and My Word. These four songs are generally satisfying melodic hard rockers with dense vocal arrangements swallowed by equally dense musical arrangements. Because of this Matijevic sounded muddled, even overwhelmed at times, in the mix. But mostly, because of the dense vocal arrangements I found the songs to be busy. That doesn't make them bad or disappointing songs by any means. You may have to take more time to savor them.

The second part is essentially the middle of the album and the three ballads You Got Me Twisted, Lips Of Rain, and With Love We Live Again. Here we hear Matijevic at his best: his vocal melody, harmony, strength, and range are powerful. And the songs are terrific, especially the quite catchy and moving With Love We Live Again.

A third part comes with Got Me Running and My Freedom. With these two songs it's back to the ambitious hard rock, with Got Me Running now the stand out of all the rockers here. It's more straight-forward in its arrangement, less cluttered, and has great AOR appeal. And you can dance to it. Just kidding. That joke was for free. Finally, the fourth and last part is the closing song, I'm So In Love With You, a gentle ballad, almost a somber torch song, with Matijevic's voice over simple piano.

Since I haven't heard anything from Steelheart in better than 20 years, I did not have any preconceived expectations, good or bad, for Through The Worlds Of Stardust. In the end, I found the melodic hard rock within a satisfying muddle of interest, entertainment, and ambivalence. Nevertheless, you may feel differently. Besides the video below, you can find two more videos on Frontiers Music's YouTube page. Listen and convince yourself. The good news is that Steelheart and Miljenko Matijevic are back and, hopefully, we will be hearing more from them in the future.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

Since I haven't heard anything from Steelheart in better than 20 years, I did not have any preconceived expectations, good or bad, for Through The Worlds Of Stardust. In the end, I found the melodic hard rock within a satisfying muddle of interest, entertainment, and ambivalence. Whether I listen to it again, well, that's another story to be told.

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