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Steel Prophet: Dark Hallucinations/Genesis/Book of the Dead (Remasters)

One of power metal's most underrated (dare I say forgotten) bands, America's Steel Prophet has managed to mix aggressive, borderline-thrash and/or progressive metal with some supremely melodic arrangements. These three well-packaged reissues 1999's Dark Hallucinations (pictured), 2000's Genesis and 2001's Book of the Dead, complete with the original detailed liner notes from the band represent most of Steel Prophet's tenure at Nuclear Blast Records and now are available in limited-edition golden discs that have been remastered using 24-bit processing.

Although released in 2000, Genesis included Steel Prophet's 1989 demo tape, Inner Ascendance, which featured the band playing as fast as it could and Rick Mythiasin singing as high as he could, and there's not much to set the band apart from early Fates Warning, one of the Steel Prophet's greatest influences. Mixed by Bill Metoyer, who apparently at the time had to go by the pseudonym Gordon Shumway (named after a character in the television sit-com Alf), the demo lyrically presented six philosophical essays by founding guitarist Steve Kachinsky. The second half of Genesis was more musically and lyrically compelling, with Steel Prophet sounding like a well-oiled machine taking on six covers five by bands it frequently cites as influences (Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Dio-era Black Sabbath and Accept), and one by pop-rock band Simple Minds. But it is that latter tune, a significantly altered version of "Don't You Forget About Me," that proved Steel Prophet had both the chops and the confidence to move forward.

Dark Hallucinations, released after two full-length LPs and an EP that came in the wake of Inner Ascendance, is essentially a metal album about get ready for it the importance of books in modern society! The concept album based on Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 showed off the band's knack for twin-guitar leads and its ability to craft memorable songs and solos. In fact, so complete is this record that a faithful cover of Fates Warning's "The Apparition" seems tacked on at the end.

A pair of albums in 2000 (the Genesis compilation and Messiah) built up to Book of the Dead, released the following year. It remains one of the band's strongest and most diverse albums, cementing Steel Prophet's reputation as purveyors of dark, thought-provoking and distinctly American metal. But with brief guitar pieces that invoked Old West and Latino themes "Ruby Dreams (Faith and Hope)" and "Soleares," respectively before segueing into some of the album's most brutal and edgy tracks, the band also proved it was capable of stretching its boundaries. Steel Prophet would do just that on 2002's Unseen, the last album recorded with Mythiasin as the only lead vocalist.

Mythiasin's voice, along with Kachinsky's vision, is one major reason why Steel Prophet continued to exist despite years of flying under the metal community's radar. The band released compelling, intelligent and muscular metal during America's grunge and nu-metal era. For that alone, we should be grateful.


Track Listings
Dark Hallucinations:
1) Montag
2) New Life (Resolution)
3) Strange Encounter
4) The Secret
5) We Are Not Alone
6) Betrayal
7) Look What You've Done
8) Scarred for Life
9) Spectres
10) The Apparition

Genesis:
1) Death
2) Sleep of Despair
3) Inner Ascendance
4) Life
5) Nihilism's Spell
6) Technocricide
7) Fast As a Shark
8) Gangland
9) Ides of March/Purgatory
10) Fade to Black
11) Dreamer Deceiver
12) Neon Knights
13) Don't You Forget About Me

Book of the Dead:
1) When Six Was Nine
2) Tragic Flaws
3) Escaped
4) Soleares
5) Church of Mind
6) Burning Into Blackness
7) The Chamber
8) Locked Out
9) Ruby Dreams (Faith and Hope)
10) Phobia
11) Anger Seething
12) Oleander

Added: February 4th 2009
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Steel Prophet Web Site
Hits: 2017
Language: english

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