|Review: Steel Maid - Raptor|
Label: Karthago Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Review online: May 22, 2010
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Steel Maid is the new band of former Ritual Steel guitarist Dirk Johannsen. He has rounded out the band's lineup with current Ritual Steel bass player Bjoern Bombach and drummer Martin Zellmer and, in my opinion, scored a big coup by getting Al "Ravage" Firicano to handle the vocals. Raptor is the debut release for Steel Maid.
What Johannsen and company have put together is a fairly straightforward Heavy/Power Metal album that mixes some modern elements with a more classic, mid 80s sound. Double bass rockers like the opener "Hellraiser" and "Die Fast" sound as they if come directly from Ravage's The End of Tomorrow. Steel Maid wisely varies tempo throughout Raptor and, while remaining sufficiently heavy, songs like "Unbreakable" and "Armageddon" take a more methodical approach. I am frequently reminded of classic Accept when listening to Raptor. "Armageddon," the best song on the album, has an opening riff that is near enough in sound to Wolf Hoffman's guitars on Balls to the Wall that I quickly scanned through that album to see which song they plagiarized (they didn't). There's also a huge, Germanic, Accept-patented chorus, which sounds awesome.
Sadly, while Raptor can be favorably compared with the superlative The End of Tomorrow and Balls to the Wall, it really doesn't live up to either. The songs are not as good. There are some standouts like the aforementioned "Armageddon," "The Fallen Angel" (another slower song) and the title track "Raptor." No offence to Firicano, but "Raptor," an instrumental, is one of the best songs on the album. I found myself tapping my foot and riffing on my air guitar every time it came on. The rest of the songs on Raptor are standard, rather mundane Power/Heavy Metal songs that you've heard hundreds of times before.
Well played, but not consistently great, Raptor is a decent start and the world cannot have too many bands playing this style for my taste. Hopefully Steel Maid can turn the songwriting up a notch or two on their next release.
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