|Genre||Progressive Power Metal|
|Release Date||20 September 2019|
Italian power metallers Soul of Steel have made a six-year comeback in their aptly-named third album, Rebirth. The band’s previous releases met mixed reception from critics and listeners on the grounds of sounding generic or forgettable and, after such a long break, you’d expect them to have spent some serious time in the forge smithing a stronger metal, and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong about that.
Soul of Steel have recruited two new axemen, Nicolas Coppola and Salvo Destratis, and the songs have a bit more to them this time around. However, the end result is still pretty close to your run-of-the-mill Italian melodic metal (plus or minus a few sections), and there’s not a whole lot here that’ll have you coming back for seconds.
Like its predecessors, Rebirth lies on the progressive side of power metal. It’s definitely more power than it is prog, but there’s a lot of dynamism that secures it tightly in the power prog arena. The overall sound is pretty light, despite the guitars having a fair bit of crunch to them, and electronic sounds are found in the background most of the time. Speaking of, this album reminds me of Annette Olzon‘s The Dark Element debut in the sense that it’s full of great ideas but they never quite come into fruition. Even just a few ‘wow’ moments would go a long way, but, aside from some solos, they never come.
The biggest problem with Rebirth is that everything is just so straightforward. It has straight beats, straight melodies, straight chords. There’s not a lot that separates it from any of the bands in the space. There’s also a lack of oomph that could be partially rectified if the guitars and drums were a bit punchier, but it’s mostly an issue of songwriting, too.
Strangely enough, one of my favourite songs on the album is the cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Perfect Illusion’. It suits Soul of Steel’s sound perfectly and it has the best solo on the entire album. Following close behind, though, is the eight-minuter, ‘Trail of Death’, which is an overall excellent song, featuring killer guitar and synth solos, memorable melodies, and pulling off some really great pulled-back sections. If the rest of the album was as alive as this song, it’d be album of the month material for sure.
In light of a few issues, Soul of Steel’s efforts have paid off, because Rebirth is a good album. It’s got ups, downs, solid musicianship, and it gets the job done. It needs more heart, sure, but any fan of melodic metal should dive into this record.
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