Steel Prophet - Beware
Nightmare Records
U.S. Power Metal
Disc 1: 10 songs (48'05) Disc 2: 10 songs (43'30)
Release year: 2004
Steel Prophet, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Ben

I’m going to get right to the point. The slow but constant downhill slide in Steel Prophet’s albums since the stellar Messiah has not stopped, although I will say that the pace has been relatively lessened. For this reviewer, 2000’s Messiah was a bombshell of an album, one that finally gave the band their dues after working their asses off for so many years. Quite frankly, I expected them to be catapulted into stardom (at least in metal terms) for I found that album to be one of the best of the year, better than Maiden's Brave New World even. The followup, Book of the Dead decreased the speed dramatically and instead favored more midtempo experimental tracks. During the sessions for the abysmal Unseen, longtime vocalist Rick Mythisian informed everyone of his departure so therefore what was released was one of the most tepid and lukewarm albums I have heard from an outstanding act. Blame for the sub par Unseen was being flung from both sides of the fence, founder and guitarist Steve Kachinsky has stated that Rick was just not into it anymore, that he gave a lackluster performance because he couldn’t wait to get out of the band, whereas Rick’s side is more of a criticism on Steve’s songwriting abilities and that he wasn’t allowed to “express himself” fully in the studio. Regardless of whose fault it was, the finished product was disappointingly weak and certainly not a fitting swansong to Rick’s tenure in Steel Prophet.

One of the better things about Beware is the new singer, Nadir D’Priest’s voice. I applaud the fact that the band decided to go with someone that sounds completely unlike Rick, instead of trying to find a clone that would undoubtedly be nowhere near Rick’s capabilities. Nadir has a rough and gritty voice that gives the music a more raw street feel than before. He never hits the ear splitting highs that his predecessor was famous for but his rough coarseness is still comforting to hear, hell, its just a damn metal voice. Guitarwise, the tone here is definitely better than on Unseen, they are heavier and fuller than the last go around and when a good riff comes by it is actually somewhat memorable. There is a downside to all these new additions however and these plague the album at every twist and turn. For one, there is a serious lack of a firm hook, one solid satisfying moment throughout the album that you can recall back and instantly in your mind. Take the opener Heavenly for example. When it first kicks in, you can hear right away the nicer guitar tone and when Nadir starts to sing all your worries about him disappear. Trouble is though, around the time when you start to expect some changeups, some dynamics, a catchy refrain or a strong chorus, the track just plods along and repeats the last thirty or odd seconds again with the same riff, the same verse melody and this brings the song to a screeching halt. Transfusion Vamp starts off with one of the most annoying keyboard sounds ever, an attempt at a flange or a phaser effect instead sounds like a thread of white noise that is spun between my speakers and I can’t even get past this which results in the skipping of the song every single time. Leatherette, the track that was chosen for a video is as strong as you’ll find on Beware. Heavy and with a throbbing energetic feel to it this finally has some of the greatness of classic Steel Prophet. Sadly, it never quite rises to the high expectations that the intro will bring you to expect but it is at least a small hint of the former vitality of this band.

As a whole, Beware sits somewhere in between Unseen and Book of the Dead, which is to say it is between complete forgetability and average. The fierceness and the magic that was fully realized on Messiah seems to have eluded the Steel Prophet camp and I fear that we won’t ever see it again. American buyers of this album will be reminded of this because there is a bonus disc that includes many rarities, live versions of The Ides of March and Messiah, as well as a few demos. Coupled with the great artwork and inlay designs (once again done by our own Chris Kallias) these extras are a nice incentive but still can’t hide the fact that Beware is dreadfully dull.

Killing Songs :
Ben quoted 52 / 100
Other albums by Steel Prophet that we have reviewed:
Steel Prophet - Dark Hallucinations reviewed by Ben and quoted 87 / 100
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 - Unseen reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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