Steel Prophet - Into The Void (Hallucinogenic Conception)
Brainstorm Division
Traditional Heavy Metal
10 songs (56'16)
Release year: 1997
Steel Prophet
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Steel Prophet from California, USA is one of those bands that has released album after album of top tier material, only to be ignored by the fickle masses. Starting with Dark Hallucinations in 1999, Steel Prophet were signed to Nuclear Blast and released some stellar material. The follow up to Dark Hallucination was their career highlight Messiah which came out in 2000. From that point on Steel Prophet got placed on my "metal gods" list. This was ten years ago. It wasn't until this year in 2008 / 2009 that I was able to track down the early days of Steel Prophet. Better late than never, and better now than when I'm in a coma.

Steel Prophet is a glorious blend of Iron Maiden majesty and Fates Warning's intricacy. There are fast speedy melodic guitars that gallop with gusto. Rick Mythiasin's vocals are stratospheric and make up one half of Steel Prophet's worth. The other half is held by guitarist, songwriter, and founder Steve Kachinsky. Along with bassist Vince Dujuan Dennis, this power trio would be the core of the band with a revolving door of lead guitarists and drummers. So, backtracking to the pre Nuclear Blast days the band was signed to a small label called Brainstorm where they released two albums and one EP. In successive order they would be The Goddess Principle, Continuum EP, and Into The Void (Hallucinogenic Conception).These early releases are a traditional metal fans wet dreams come to life. They all crackle with low budget analog production. This means I can hear the authenticity of the music in full stereo. There are no computer hack job cut and paste bullshit shenanigans here.

Into The Void in this reviewer's opinion, is to the first era of the band what Messiah was to the second. The songwriting is focused, precise, and original. Steve must really listen to old school metal, you know the kind where the amps go to eleven and where the guitarist didn't get on YouTube to post a lame ass video of himself performing begging for comments. The kind where you sweat in a hot rehearsal room, the kind where a smoldering Marlboro sits affixed in the guitar's neck, the kind where the bands would print out their flyers and walk around town passing them out physically. The kind of metal that I like. Most of the songs in Into The Void hover in the six minute mark. Solos, time changes, interludes, and vocal histrionics all come into play. This is musican's metal. Steve writes songs that have instantly recognizable riffs and melodies, but he envelops them in complex structures that require attentive listening. Trapped In The Trip is one such example. A galloping track that has each element listed above in it. During the quiet interlude there is a pretty sweet bluesy solo that I am fond of. Of The Dream is a fast, epic, urgent song. The vocals are delivered in a manner that makes you believe Rick is fighting for his life. While not as abused as their cover of Neon Knights, Steel Prophet's take on Iron Maiden's classics Ides Of March / Purgatory is phenomenal. I have never heard a band do Iron Maiden justice like Steel Prophet. Into The Void closes out with the album's fastest, heaviest song, followed by the most melodic. What's Behind The Veils? contemplates the after life and is metal thrashing mad. I can't say that it is out of place because if you're listening to Steel Prophet in the first place you like this music anyway. Hate 2 (read Hate "squared") has a huge, melodic, fist in the air, breakdown that I absolutely cannot get enough of. So eighties, so epic, so fucking metal.

One cool thing feel that I must mention about this band is that for every album, Steve writes liner notes about each song. He explains a cool story behind each track. His honesty is shocking. I normally do not do this but since this is a hard to find album I will put a few choice snippets in here. This is only to exemplify the fan connection that this band has. Again, I believe that Steve must have been one of those fans that bought the album, came home, popped it on the turntable then read the liner notes himself while adoring the art. So thank you man cos I do the exact same thing. Anyways, here we go: "This album really sucked to make... Rick had to go into a drug rehab program twice just to get clean enough to record this cd. The whole time it was being recorded I was under the impression that I was going to have to move 3000 miles away for family reasons... Finally Vince was shot in the chest the day after it was mixed. Vince is O.K. though. ... " (Regarding the song Death Of Innocence) "This song really is longer. A whole verse and chorus were wiped out at the end because Rick was too messed up on drugs to sing..." Of course not everything is doom and gloom, but the band should be admired at the least for putting themselves up like that.

This is what traditional heavy metal played with heart and conviction sounds like. I would rather take a less produced album with raw talent and drive than a polished turd that has as much substance as a dried up Twinkie. Fans of that raw Maiden, Saxon, Priest, Fates Warning school of metal need to get into this band right now. Not in a year or so but get on it as soon as possible. Music like this is in danger of becoming extinct.

Killing Songs :
Of The Dream, Trapped In The Trip, Hate 2, What's Behind The Veils?
Ben quoted 85 / 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 - 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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