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Deathrow - Raging Steel (Reissue)

Raging Steel (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 26 February 2018, 11:19 PM

After completing the notorious European tour with POSSESSED and VOIVOD, a Thrash Metal barrage over Europe called “Hell Comes To Your Town”, the door came knocking and a work on a new album was requested. Yep, that was virtually the business behind the music scene, after a successful output, the momentum needs to be reserved. DEATHROW, with a bit of stance to themselves in the German Metal scene, were up to the challenge and already with various ideas for new songs. Following the interview within this reissue’s booklet with the founders, Sven Flügge and Markus Hahn, the experience of recording and working with a producer changed, and so are other things when it comes to the band’s music and perception. Better check it out, because it is quite an interesting story.

So, “Raging Steel” was born, though both title and artwork were under a tiny struggle before those were officially selected, and it proved itself to be an effort to be reckoned with, especially with the flow of Thrash Metal albums coming out of Germany in 1987. With comparison to “Riders Of Doom”, being unavoidable, “Raging Steel” was impressively produced, well mixed and mastered. Harris Jones, which also produced other German icons such as HELLOWEEN / KREATOR / SODOM / TANKARD among the many clients he had, made it sound as old school Thrash Metal as it can get, with enough Teutonic signatures. In general, DEATHROW’s songwriting became a lot clearer and less raw and messy as on the debut, even though the material’s quality was never damaged.

Still punching it Speed mangled by Thrash Metal wise and keeping it in a similar vibe to the debut’s outputs, I noticed some maturity in the material, probably due to gathered experience and guidance as the band slightly evolved. Tunes that appeared as semi eposes, though the band never really stopped to constantly attack with a wholesome of anger. In addition, I also believe that DEATHROW came up with well written melodies, in the proximity of KREATOR and RUNNING WILD of the same era, harmonies that became commonplace, and a hefty quantity of solo action. As for the riffery, though maintaining the somewhat American influence, I came to notice a tinge of SODOM, but still more on the KREATOR zone, also of the same era. The violent and crazed riffs, technical to a certain extent, are pouring the band’s energy all over the place, like a loose cannon freak that will never seem to rest. However, from time to time, well not rarely but more than usual, the speed demon tempo was lowered, easing it with mid-tempo Heavy Metal deliveries that sounded epic.

One of the few albums in Metal that my favorite tune is an instrumental, frankly, it was hard to escape the grip of this ear grabber. “The Undead Cry” seemed to have possessed the entire stamina and merits of the foursome crew. Whether its melodic direction, METALLICA meets SLAYER meets the German Thrash Metal wrath riff wise, or its arrangement, it owned me. “Pledge To Die”, which serves as one of the band’s top speeding bullets, is the essence of German Thrash Metal, straightforwardness is the key, loads of anger and critical mindset and a plentiful of vigor. “The Thing Within”, enters the arena with a charming introduction, portraying a rather American oriented approach towards the mixture of Heavy and Thrash Metal, yet develops fast into its origin, harsh, melodic and immensely energetic. It actually showcased some of the better written riffs on the album. “Dragon’s Blood” displays an impressive form of buildup, a kind of fantasy storyline vibe epos, pretty common for the 80s, mid-tempo Heavy Metal with a great melodic singing by frontman Milo Van Jaksic.

Enclosed within the reissue copy is the “Eternal Death” demo, which isn’t disclosed as part of the band’s discography, which features songs from the debut album. For collectors it is a fine addition to the album. Lastly, “Yigael’s Wall”, performed live in one of the band’s shows, a song that should have been a part of “Raging Steel” but was voted out. A fine piece of violence at your disposal.

Quite a struggle to decide which album is better, but I guess you don’t really need to. Both albums present a youthful band showing off its best. “Raging Steel” is highly recommended. Eventually things will further change for DEATHROW. Until the next reissue then.

Purchase Link: BMG

4 Star Rating

1. The Dawn
2. Raging Steel
3. Scattered By The Wind (Part 1)
4. Scattered By The Wind (Part 2)
5. Dragon’s Blood
6. The Thing Within
7. Pledge To Die
8. Mortal Dread
9. The Undead Cry
10. Beyond The Light
11. Intro. (“Eternal Death” Demo)
12. Slaughtered (“Eternal Death” Demo)
13. Violent Omen (“Eternal Death” Demo)
14. Riders Of Doom (“Eternal Death” Demo)
15. Samhain (“Eternal Death” Demo)
16. Yigael’s Wall (Live 1986)
Milo Van Jaksic - Vocals / Bass
Thomas Priebe - Guitars
Sven Flügge - Guitars
Markus Hahn – Drums
Record Label: Noise Records


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