RSS Feed

Metal Machine

Pure Underground (2013)
Rating: 7/10

Can it get more metal when a band is called Stainless Steel and their album’s title is Metal Machine?! You metal purists out there may be delighted to know that these guys formed back in the murky mid-80s and released their debut opus, In Your Back, in 1985. However, after the release of the follow-up, Molten Metal, in 1987, Stainless Steel disappeared off the face of the earth. But now, over 25 years later, the band have returned from the darkness, no doubt prompted by the interest shown in 2005’s Molten Metal In Your Back compilation album.

It seems as if so many cult 80s bands are reforming not just to give it one more shot, but to show the great pretenders to the throne just how it’s done. There are several bands called Stainless Steel but these leather-clad Germans are the only ones that matter.

The band is still fronted by Ralph Scholz, while guitarists Thomas Müller and Norbert Barton have also been plucked from the original line-up. These wily veterans are joined by bassist Rainer Huxhage and drummer Frank Ullrich who both appeared on the band’s second opus, so this is very much Stainless Steel from the 80s, loaded up and ready to rock.

Metal Machine – complete with supped-up engine on the cover – is a 13-track platter that is a teaser from the introduction of ‘Back In Your Minds’ which drifts into the speedy, screaming ‘Master Of The Universe’. As many of you would have no doubt guessed, this still sounds as though it was recorded back in the late 80s such is its galloping premise.

Admittedly, Ralph Scholz’s vocals are heavily flawed as he warbles through those archetype lyrics, yelping, “Victims bite the dust, fire’s in the sky, master of the universe… never gonna die”, and it can’t get any more predictable. But mock it all you wish, for Stainless Steel know no other way of life except to rock, and forever how long this experience is going to last they are gonna make damn sure they enjoy it.

‘Preachers Of Hate’, ‘Fear And Pain’, ‘Fight To Survive’ and ‘Riding On A Razorblade’ all sound like the sort of speedy metal composition that would have been inspired by Metallica’s seminal Kill ’Em All album back in 1983. Just think of old Judas Priest, with heavy doses of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands like Tank, and you’d be on the right track here.

The flavour is very much one of rust, because you just know that a track called ‘Death And Destruction’ isn’t going to be avant-garde Euro pop. The guitar sound of the album is sharp, while the drums provide an ample plod as back-beat to this straightforward and often basement quality record, but I can’t criticise something that boasts so many clichés and yet infectious riffs. ‘Death And Destruction’ being one of the real highlights on the opus and where Scholz really finds his range.

I don’t think I’ve heard any album that could be more metal, so for that it deserves a thumbs up.

Neil Arnold

<< Back to Album & EP Reviews

Related Posts via Categories