Southampton’s Toledo Steel are on a great journey. Ever present in the UK metal scene over the last few years, I am quite pleased with the progression and this, to finally get to their debut album release. It just shows what can be achieved born out of their hard work both on the road and in the studio. They have grown as musicians and produced an album that could propel them to leaders among the many in their respective field of heavy metal.
Opener ‘Behold the Machine’ is a good indication for where the album will go. This rabid British heavy metal assault forms a strong foundation, taking in the already known influences of the two greats, namely Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. As the album develops, it’s very clear that vocalist Richard Rutter has done a sterling job, developing his style, and strength. The vocals are a vast jump forward compared to their earlier EP releases. The poise and the delivery are so much stronger. There is a clever element to the start of ‘Heavy Metal Headache’, simply turn up the volume when the track starts; let’s see what your reaction is! The track itself is a great heavy metal juggernaut. Again, I can’t help but take comparisons to Rob Halford/Judas Priest for the vocals and Maiden for the guitar legwork from the late ‘80’s. There’s a nice guitar tone and delivery present that you simply cannot avoid nodding along to each and every track.
The artwork presents itself as a pure metal release, I really like this. It is like going back to my teenage years when I sometimes bought albums based on album covers alone (long before the internet!); you just know this is a metal album. The striking colour usage is special. The overall production itself is strong, the snare sound solid and the overall mix is not modern, but not like older releases. Expanding upon this, you have modern methods augmenting a classic sound, a nice balance.
Out of the “newer” British bands, Toledo Steel has developed the most for me. There a real sense of pride to get this full length album and I am sure that this will travel far, further than what the band have for their live shows, and that’s quite a feat to match as they have done some mileage!
Whether it is the infectious guitar solos, the band song structure or the powerful extensive range of the vocals, you have the real deal. There is ‘No Quarter’; it’s a great album and pushes these chaps onwards towards the next level in their musical career, good work indeed.
(8.5/10 Paul Maddison)