"Hellhammer" (Adrenaline / Steel Heart; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Hellhammer" is another heavy slab of true metal from these Australian rockers and, like its predecessors, it pulls no punches in delivering nearly an hour of explosive metal about battle, bravery and the power of metal. Even when the CD slows down on its few "ballads," (i.e. "Live for the Fight"), they lose no power, driving through the slower pace with sheer rock'n'roll power.

What's great about "Hellhammer" and Black Steel in general is that, although the band works hard to honor the traditional metal sounds, they still manage to have a unique sound of their own. In other words, they don't really sound like any other band. There are hints of Judas Priest, Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Manowar and lesser known metal bands throughout "Hellhammer" but you'll never mistake Black Steel for another band. Each and every song sounds like a Black Steel song and that says a lot.

If I have any complaint about "Hellhammer" it's that it doesn't sound quite as vital or as passionate as "Destructor." Maybe the songwriting isn't as effective, maybe it's due to the CD featuring only one guitarist rather than two. Regardless, that's a minor complaint. The CD still delivers in spades and that's all that really matters.

Fans of true metal will definitely want to have Black Steel's repertoire in their collection.

Black Steel: Dave Harrison - bass guitar; Jamie Page - guitar; Matt Williams - vocals; Damien Petrilli - drums. 

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"Destructor" (Adrenaline / Steel Heart; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Black Steel's "Destructor" is a better than its predecessor in that it's heavier, better-written and performed with a fiery charisma. That's saying a lot considering that "Battle Call" wasn't a bad CD by any stretch of the imagination. Of course, this CD has the benefit of ten full-length tracks rather than just four. 

"Destructor" virtually explodes from your CD player, from the opening track, "Breaking the Trains" (with its thundering backbeat) through nine additional tunes, each as big and as bombastic as the last. Throughout each of those tracks, guitars scream, drums explode and bass guitar pounds. Vocalist Matt Williams also steps up a notch or two here, layering his Bruce Dickinson/Rob Halford pipes into a truly unique vocal style that fits the music perfectly.

Fans of pure metal need look no further than Black Steel and "Destructor" is another well-earned notch in this band's studded leather belt.

Black Steel is: Dave Harrison - bass guitar; Jamie Page - lead and rhythm guitar; Andrew Di Stefano - rhythm & acoustic guitar; Matt Williams - lead and harmony vocals; Damien Petrilli - drums. 

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"Battle Call" (MGM Australia; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Black Steel play balls-out, genuine, purebred heavy metal. Like Manowar, Black Steel relish and delight in their heavy metal sound and image and this 4-track EP certainly proves that.

Boasting a sound that's part Manowar (this comparison cannot be missed), part Iron Maiden and part Stratovarius, Black Steel pour out the testosterone vocals, the heavy guitar chords, the blistering lead riffs, the driving drum cadences and the numbing bass power. The songwriting is pretty good, too, carrying the kind of hooks that almost don't qualify as hooks but draw you into the music anyway.

If there's a downside to Black Steel it would have to be that they're not very original. Their lyrics are Robert E. Howard fantasy-based odes to battle or anthems celebrating heavy metal. But that's as it should be. This kind of pure metal isn't meant to break any new ground. It's meant to kick your ass. And Black Steel does just that.

Black Steel is: Dave Harrison - bass; Andrew Di Stefano - guitar; Matt Williams - vocals; Damien Petrilli - drums; Jamie Page - guitar.

For more information, please visit

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:10 -0400 .