Steel Prophet - Dark Hallucinations
Nuclear Blast
Speed / Power Metal
12 songs (58:43)
Release year: 1999
Steel Prophet, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Dark Hallucinations was a huge milestone for the rather unknown US Power / Speed Metal band Steel Prophet. This was their first release for their new record label Nuclear Blast, which at the time in 1999 meant maybe more than a few dozen people in their home country can now get their albums outside of shows. Hooray. Because the label was still relatively small at the time, they didn't meddle with the band's affairs too much and let Steel Prophet be themselves. So, what does an up to this point unknown Speed Metal band do for their first real label release? Put out a non linear concept album based on the required reading Ray Bradbury novel, Fireman's Flamehole: The Burnination (Of Man),uh, uh, I mean Farenheit 451. Not only that, but they decided to throw a random song about Aliens and space that doesn't pertain to the story in between songs that do. The end result is a great album, but no one really cares about the "impact" of the story elements.

If one were to get Dark Hallucinations on that ancient format known as cd, they'll notice that guitarist Steve Kachinsky has written fairly detailed liner notes for each song. In these notes, Steve lets us know that the reason for the out of chronological order story songs are to keep the album's "flow" consistent. This goal is met, songs are memorable, but the album isn't remembered as any great concept album. For instance, we open up with Montag, an angry track that introduces us to the main character and his flamethrower that he joyously burns books with. Fast, biting, and vicious, this ends on a Steel Prophet "trademark," having a blast beat, tremolo picked outro. The next track is the conclusion to the album's story, New Life. It does feel rather odd to have a sense of finale on the second song, but here we go. This also has an extremely spirited guitar solo section that screams and bends and twists and turns. Personal favorite, Strange Encounter, now takes us back to Chapter 2 of this story and this is pure speed metal to the hilt. While having a slower, melodic chorus section, this is primarily non stop guitars and drums. The constant battery of the main riff makes the chorus that much more dramatic when it comes around.

As for the non story songs, there is the UFO / alien themed, We Are Not Alone, which funnily includes some old bleepy bloopy video game sound effects as "space sounds." Scarred For Life is perhaps one of the better ones that doesn't relate to Bradbury's tale of flamethrowers and mecha dogs. This is no frills, pounding the guitar with the drums on the downbeat METAL. Scathing and pissed off, this is primed for gang shout sing along sections. Depending on if you have the digipak version or not (I don't), this album ends with either one or two cover songs. The digipak has a faithful performance of Helloween's Ride The Sky, which again, in 1999 was not the well known anthem it is today. Everyone however, gets their rendition of The Apparition from Fates Warning. Perhaps this was chosen for every release because ever since day one, singer Rick Mythisian has had numerous comparisons to John Arch. I hope he doesn't mind those too much because this cover is almost dead on with the original. From the wailing backing vocals, to the EXTREMELY challenging lyrical cadences, the poetic energy of the original is definitely intact. Hell, Steel Prophet has always been good at doing covers and I don't mean that as some snide asshole. They have a huge repertoire of covers that they've recorded and most of them are well done and would be an actual bar band setlist I'd want to see. The fact that they can do this shows that they must enjoy playing metal to their core, even if it is other people's songs.

Dark Hallucinations would be followed up by the near perfect Messiah album. Bad luck kept finding the band though and simply because Messiah was released in 2000, it got swallowed up by the year and it's mammoth releases. And by other releases I mainly mean Brave New World. In the world of old school metal, THAT was the album of the year in terms of anticipation, and lesser known acts such as Steel Prophet were lost in the wake of such a release. Hoozah for us then that in the year 2020, Nuclear Blast is still around and this really great shit should be on Spotify and other services now. I'm not too sure though cos I'm blasting the cd!

Killing Songs :
Strange Encounter, New Life, The Apparation, Scarred For Life
Ben quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Steel Prophet that we have reviewed:
Steel Prophet - The God Machine reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
Steel Prophet - Omniscient reviewed by Andy and quoted 77 / 100
Steel Prophet - Into The Void (Hallucinogenic Conception) reviewed by Ben and quoted 85 / 100
Steel Prophet - Beware reviewed by Ben and quoted 52 / 100
Steel Prophet - Unseen reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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