Steel Attack
Diabolic Symphony

Though this is the fifth outing from the Swedish power metal act Steel Attack, it’s my introduction to them, and my first impression is pretty good. Diabolic Symphony features some nice, cutting power/traditional metal that’s not overburdened with keyboard flourishes or overbearing vocal harmonies. Singer Ronny Hemlin reminds me a little of Tim Owens (in non-Halford clone mode) in his delivery and really helps elevate this from what could have been a standard power metal release.

Steel Attack has apparently been kicking around for a little more than a decade, and this record was created amidst a split with their previous record company and their previous drummer. It doesn’t really show on the record, which is a solid, tight effort from start to finish.

Guitarists John Allen and Johan Jalonen Penn provide the aggressive base for the music, especially on the driving opening of “Shallow Seas of Hatred” and the frenetic riffing of “Dreaming” and “Embraced by Fear.” “Dreaming” is one of the best offerings on the record with a nice squeal-punctuated breakdown and some progressive strains coming in toward the end of the song. The heavy opening of “Sanctimonious” with some nice keyboard accents is another high point, though the rest of the song does dance closer to a standard power metal number. The operatic touches blended with the bouncy riffing of the opening of the “The Other Side” is also nice.

Keyboards, though present, are largely subdued and atmospheric. There’s no doubt that the guitars run the show in this band, and that’s how it should be. Again, though, the best thing this record has going for it is Hemlin’s vocals. They’ve got enough grit and power to give the songs the darker edge that Allen and Penn’s guitars deserve. This is a great record for fans of strong power/traditional metal with a darker edge.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
April 21st, 2006

Comments

  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    This band is right up my alley. I’m a freak when it comes to good power metal, and I’m surprised I didn’t check them out earlier.


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