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Toledo Steel – The First Strike Of Steel - The Early Years Anthology

Toledo Steel
The First Strike Of Steel - The Early Years Anthology
by Joseph Brewer at 26 May 2020, 10:44 PM

Keeping that unique NWOBHM style alive are rockers TOLEDO STEEL out of the UK. Formed in 2011, TOLEDO STEEL has been constantly active, finding new places to tour and creating new music. They released two EPs independently before getting signed by their current label Dissonance Records. In 2018, they released their first full album under Dissonance Records, “No Quarter,” and have plans to release a follow-up album later this year. In between those albums, they worked with the label to release “The First Strike Of Steel - The Early Years Anthology,” which is a repackaging of all of the songs from their first two EPs “Toledo Steel” (2013) and “Zero Hour” (2015). Packed full of speedy melodies, clean vocals, and ripping guitar solos, TOLEDO STEEL proves in their early music why they are a perfect encapsulation of classic heavy metal standards.

TOLEDO STEEL kicks off their anthology with a high tempo escape song, “Alcatraz.” Guitar, drums, and bass kick the song off with a quick, pounding intro that is assisted by an eerie siren alarm, alerting the listener to the prison escape theme of this track. Then, Rich Rutter on vocals comes in with his falsetto-heavy voice. His delivery can easily switch from staccato and articulate to long and melodic, but is always high, sharp, and piercing. I was impressed by the sheer number of wails that Rutter executes in these tracks. Overall, this is one of the best songs on the anthology as it is a quick, engaging, and fun little song about trying to break out of one of the most famous prisons in the world.

Flames Arise” and “Black Widow” round out the tracks from their self-titled EP “Toledo Steel”. “Flames Arise” is a bit heavier, and while the chorus does have a nice build up, it is missing a noticeable hook. The guitar work by Tom Potter cannot be ignored, however. Their primary axeman is a wizard shredding through powerful riffs and chromatic, soaring solos with ease. “Black Widow” rips through the verses before delivering a great chorus, a real earworm that will get stuck in your head for days to come.

Fallen Empire” kicks off the songs from the other EP on this release “Zero Hour.” As soon as the song kicks off, you are reminded of early IRON MAIDEN, which is a wonderful comparison for any band. TOLEDO STEEL sounds like they are a twin axe attack as Potter cranks up the noise and delivers that feeling by himself. “City Lights” keeps the momentum going and really highlights the rest of the band. Felix Dock on bass is noticeably turned up and you can appreciate his moving bass line carrying the melody throughout the entire song. And Matt Dobson on drums just does not quit as he can play it all: fast, smooth, heavy, all without breaking a sweat, I’m sure.

Children Of The Sun” is up next and has a heavier, more epic feel to it than the rest of the songs. TOLEDO STEEL slows the tempo down, not by much, but enough that you feel the speed break compared to the rest of their tracks. This song allows them to flex their long song muscles, with a well-executed instrumental section in the middle of the song that will keep your head banging. “Speed Killer” and “Toledo Steel” are the final two tracks of the anthology and continue to reinforce their perfectly executed NWOBHM style. After listening to “The First Strike Of Steel - The Early Years Anthology” a few times, I can say that I am definitely impressed with the band. Those that are seeking that classic heavy metal sound in a new band will find that in TOLEDO STEEL.

Favorite Songs: “Alcatraz

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Alcatraz
2. Flames Arise
3. Black Widow
4. Zero Hour
5. Fallen Empire
6. City Lights
7. Children Of The Sun
8. Speed Killer
9. Toledo Steel
Rich Rutter – Vocals
Tom Potter – Guitar
Felix Dock – Bass
Matt Dobson – Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions


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