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Steel Attack - Carpe DiEnd (CD)

Steel Attack
Carpe DiEnd
by Grigoris Chronis at 04 March 2008, 10:31 AM

Six albums in nine years. Not a bad rate at all. Sweden's Heavy/Power/Symph warriors strike back with Carpe DiEnd and the mere question spewing out of my mind is: will these release put STEEL ATTACK to a room with better 'view' to the metalheads' hunting thirst? If metalheads still have any, now thinking…
'Steel' and 'Attack' may prepare the potential non-familiar listener to face dozens of guitar walls havoc-ed with endless pounding and uncompromising vocals. The description here is semi-correct. STEEL ATTACK started out as Euro Power (not 'happy') band and their initial recordings - especially Where Mankind Fails (1999) and Fall Into Madness (2001) - did bear a resemblance to the likes of dragons, battles and shields. Not bad at all, but things developed with the arrival of new singer Ronny Hemlin (LACK OF FAITH). I general, the 'easy come, easy go' status of members in and out would be the quintet's trademark all these years. Bear in mind Carpe DiEnd also features three brand new members, Simon Johansson (guitars), Peter Moren (drums) and Johan Lofgren (bass).
To the core: two years after an excellent album (2006's Diabolical Symphony), a new album sets things straight on an 'updated' basis. And this quite rational, due to the come-and-go facts taking place the last couple of years. Many STEEL ATTACK fans may consider this album to be the band's most well-crafted opus so far, dunno. The production, first of all, is more in-your-face (omit the mediocre sound of drums) by being semi-primitive (do not, however, imagine a 4-channel recording!) and somehow mystique. The songwriting helps this direction, too: 'dark' Power Metal with doom parts and bombastic slow-tempo drumming, exchanging parts with some epic/prog direction flirting enough with the experimental/narrative side of STEEL ATTACK lurking in for many years now.
Of good impression is the fact that the whole album can be heard at once without having signs of boredom. The great lead parts help this way too: the soloing is 'northern', out of the Scandinavian gloom, while the structure of most songs does not show the tendency of going 'normal'. Ronny Hemlin's performance is astonishing, not to forget: he's classical, he's heavy, he's lyrical, he's a storyteller. Backed by a good doze of majestic (but not outstanding) keyboards support, Hemlin lives and breathes for what he's singing for (a promo copy without lyrics does not help this much to comprehend with the stories), while he's on-the-border of being 'operatic' at times.
Need names? For Whom I Bleed? grabbed me by the balls, with a THERION-like intro transforming into a mid-to-slow tempo catharsis with a great straightforward solo, while Angels (a video was shot for this one, with NOCTURNAL RITES' Owe Lingvall handling the 'director' duties) is a Swedish Power Metal diamond, keen on (early) NIGHTWISH-meets-KAMELOT formulas.
But, to an extend, the whole album is worth the notice, since it does not have any fillers. In the vein of fellow Swedish monsters MORGANA LEFAY (without the speedy parts) or EVERGREY (in the moody parts) or even TAD MOROSE or MEMORY GARDEN (Simon Johansson was a permanent member there; also in ABSTRAKT ALGEBRA) or FALCONER, Carpe DiEnd will certainly fill up your powerful/gloomy Swedish Power Metal needs, no questions asked. Now, if your Northern Power Metal falls to the likes of Sweden's HAMMERFALL, Finland's SONATA ARCTICA and Germany's FREEDOM CALL, please give the album arty first and then decide if you can stand the volume.

P.S.: the album was recorded at Sonic Train Studio, Gothenburg and mixed at Solnasound by Mike Wead (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND). Add these names, too, to your decision.


3 Star Rating

Carpe DiEnd
The Evil In Me
I Keep Falling
Holy Is Evil
Perpetual Solitude
For Whom I Bleed?
Entrance To Heaven Denied
Never Again
Beyond The Light
Ronny Hemlin - Vocals
John Allan - Guitars
Simon Johansson - Guitars
Peter Moren - Drums
Johan Lofgren - Bass
Record Label: Massacre Records


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