Welcome to Source of Steel - The Heavy Metal Museum. For the metal head who likes to own or collect physical CDs, Source of Steel is my website dedicated to the love of physical metal on shiny plastic discs. Micro-reviews, thoughts, pics of my own collection and random utterances galore. The site started out purely as a way of sharing my rarities to like-minded fans, but now (for longevity's sake more than anything) it is open to new physical metal music bits I've picked up, including new releases and other random shit.

Ved Buens Ende - Written In Waters

The one and only full length of infamous Norwegian's Ved Buens Ende. These guys (for those who're unaware) feature members of Dodheimsgard, Aura Noir, Virus and Cadaver amongst others. This is a world apart musically to all those other bands, being relatively chilled out in comparison. There's plenty of the avant-garde to be found here, but don't let that put you off. This is the original first pressing on Misanthropy Records with original artwork (the cover art was again meddled with for the later re-press on Candlelight).

Excruciation - Anno Domini: An Anthology of the Past

Switzerland's Excruciation here, with their 1991 compilation of demo material - Anno Domini. Nothing eye-poppingly crushing here musically, but fairly solid speed/thrash with doomy (and occasionally deathly) elements. Years later, the band would begin to record full length albums, with their first album coming in 2007 - 23 years after they formed as a band (with that said they split in 1991, but reformed in 2005). This is an original CD pressing on Turbo International.

At War - Ordered To Kill

US Thrashers At War here, with their debut album 'Ordered to Kill'. This is an original CD pressing from 1998 on New Renaissance (it was originally only available on vinyl previously since its 1986 release). I really love this album (a lot don't), there are some really classic thrash cuts here. Sure, they perhaps take themselves a little too seriously (look at the cover art as evidence - haha), but hey, if the savage thrash bites your face - what's the issue? Good shit in my book.

Serpent - In The Garden Of Serpent

This is the debut album from Sweden's Serpent, a band who released two albums in quick succession before disappearing (like so many other bands). This is pretty much trad doom orthodoxy - no bells and whistles, just great pounding doom. An original press on Nuclear Blast offshoot label Radiation Records, now out of print.

Darkness - Conclusion & Revival

The third and final album from German thrashers Darkness here, released in 1989 in its original first pressing on Hot Blood Records. As thrash goes, this isn't anywhere near the cream of the crop (to be honest, the bands earlier albums had a little more edge to them than this one). Hard to find in this pressing and out of print, but not exactly worth tracking down unless you're some sort of Teutonic thrash completest.

The Ancient's Rebirth - Drain The Portal In Blood

The Ancient's Rebirth were another one of those Swedish death/black metal bands who were there or there abouts in the early 90s scene, released one album before disappearing off the face of the earth. Musically you can probably see why they disappeared - it's decent black/death, but they sounded like about another 100 bands that I could list. Worth a check for those rabid fans of Swedish blackness who must hear absolutely everything, but for the casual listener - you won't find anything here that the giants of the scene haven't already perfected. An original CD press on the Creations of Necromantical Mysteriis label.

Massacra - Enjoy The Violence

Massacra's 2nd (and probably most famous) album here from 1991. These French lot certainly knew how to destroy their amps with a vicious attack of thrashing death metal, but they lost their way on later albums and started to churn out grooving nu-turds that not even their mothers would love. This is the Shark Records/Vertigo pressing, hard to find and out of print these days.

Cianide - Death, Doom and Destruction / Ashes to Dust

A couple more releases from the awesome Cianide. Here is their 3rd album, 1997's 'Death, Doom and Destruction' (as re-issued by Razorback Records), and their 2 CD demo compilation 'Ashes to Dust' on From Beyond Productions. You should know what to expect from Cianide - they never fail to deliver solid doomy death metal greatness in my view.

Razor - Shotgun Justice

Razor. If you've not heard of them, you really REALLY should. This is their 6th (and some would argue, finest) album. It's certainly the one to find on CD, as it's unbelievably hard to get hold of these days in an original Fringe Records pressing, among the thousands and thousands of bootlegs which are in circulation. I was lucky enough to stumble across this original in a 2nd hand shop of all places along with a ton of other cool shit (although I wasn't 100% certain until I confirmed it's matrix & matrix 'style' when I got home - haha). Check it out.

Fredrik Thordendal's Special Defects - Sol Niger Within

Meshuggah's Fredrik Thordendal here with his solo project. Pretty much an extension of Meshuggah in my eyes, perhaps with a little more of an eye on the experimental side of things. Nothing mind blowing or world changing, but it does have some interesting ideas and weird soundscapes. An original press on UAE records.

Ildjarn - Forest Poetry

Ildjarn's possibly best known album, Forest Poetry showcases his fizzing, harsh black metal (as opposed to their more ambient, synth efforts). Ildjarn are the antithesis of Dimmu Borgir - this isn't about fancy bells and whistles, it's about repeatedly smashing your face into mush with the thick end of a tree trunk - and it does that perfectly. An almost impenetrable wave of hissing distortion and hateful vocals. An original 1996 pressing on Norse League Productions.

Blind Illusion - The Sane Asylum

Blind Illusion are mainly known for being the band which featured Les Claypool of Primus, and Larry Lalonde of Possessed/Primus. But, forgetting that - this serves up some pretty decent technical thrash. Their only album, this is well worth tracking down for some late 80s greatness. An original UK pressing on Under One Flag.

Amboss - Those Who Have Lost The Right To Exist

Germany's Amboss never existed for long, but they did leave us with this one full length to ponder from 1993. Released on the tiny Crypta Records, this went under the radar to most, gaining scant praise from the handful of deepest delvers into the realm of the internet, which helped beam the obscure into everyone's homes. Weird, creepy death metal with a real vibe of oddity and strangeness. Spoken word passages, occasional clean vocals and tons of atmosphere helped these guys stand out, but alas it was too late for them. There's something about that cover art which is genuinely eerie too... love it.

The Berzerker - The Reawakening

The Berzerker were never a band that spring to mind when listing a ton of my favourite bands, but they certainly had something about them I liked. This was the bands final release after their acrimonious split from Earache Records, entirely self financed and released by the band themselves under their own Berzerker Industries label. Funny thing is, I'd probably say the shackles of Earache being off allowed them to create their finest work - just a shame not many got to hear it as it had such limited distribution (well, discounting downloads, of course). Fine grinding death metal with those crazy gabba drums and sick industrial vibe all added together to create a measured album of intensity and power. Worth a look for those willing to expand outside the usual realms of death/grind.

Living Death - Living Death

German's Living Death made quite the name for themselves in the underground thrash/speed scene in the late 80s. This 2 disc compilation brings together their finest pieces of work, which were between 86-88. Featuring EP 'Back To The Weapons', 3rd album 'Protected From Reality', 4th album (and best, in my opinion) 'Worlds Neuroses' and their 1988 live EP this is packed with killer without much in the way filler (well, I guess the live tracks are the worst 'filler' offenders, but then I've never been a fan of live recordings, give or take a handful exceptions). An original pressing on Aaarrg Records from 1994.

Mortuary - Blackened Images

Mexico's Mortuary here, with their debut album from 1991 (though this isn't the first Avanzada Metalica press, but rather the 1992 press on JL America). I'd say these guys are more of a Death metal band, though they do have very noticeable Thrash influences throughout. Mexico had (and still have) some really fine death metal, and this was a shining example of the earlier days of it.

Gates of Ishtar - A Bloodred Path / The Dawn of Flames / At Dusk and Forever

Haters of melodeath, turn away now. Although not hailing from Gothenburg (they're from Lulea) Gates of Ishtar had a good thing going in my opinion pushing that delectable melodeath sound to breaking point without getting overly sugary. But as was the way for many bands, they got overlooked by most in the huge wave of melodeath which swept through Sweden in the early to mid 90s. Original pressings on CD on Spinefarm, Invasion and Invasion respectively.

Loudblast - Disincarnate / Sublime Dementia / Cross The Threshold

Some early albums from the French death/thrashers Loudblast here. Their very early stuff was pretty much pure thrash, but I much prefer their sound from Disincarnate onwards, especially the melodious death/thrash of Sublime Dementia (my personal favourite of their releases). Releases on Semetary, Noise Records & Semetary respectively. The band also released an 'Original Album Classics' 5 album boxset in 2009 featuring these albums, as well as the two releases preceding them. I also own that, but that is still in print so isn't featured here.

Benighted Leams - Caliginous Romantic Myth / Astral Tenebrion

Time to revisit obscurity here, with Alex Kurtagic's solo project Benighted Leams first two albums, released on his own label. Alex Kurtagic ran the great underground black metal label Supernal Music, but has seemingly gone AWOL from music in recent years. The music on offer here is pretty shaky at times, but it's reassuringly cavernous and howling - the heart is there. Could've done with organic drums too, as the drum machine is a little iffy. He went on to release a couple more albums after these which are still in print.

Anaal Nathrakh - Total Fucking Necro / The Codex Necro / When Fire Rains Down From the Sky, Mankind Will Reap as It Has Sown

These are some old pressings of the early Anaal Nathrakh releases on Rage of Achilles, Mordgrimm and Mordgrimm (in that order). Fine, bile throwing vitriol is right here - sheer intensity and rage encapsulated in plastic. "Total Fucking Necro" is the bands early demo compilation, "The Codex Necro" is the bands debut full length, and "When Fire.." is the bands early EP. The "When Fire.." EP features Mayhem's Attila on vocals, and it's fucking awesome. Their debut album shows the alternative (or mis-printed according to some) disc, which shows the image of the Pioneer Plaque over the disc design.

Paralysis - Patrons of the Dark

Another long lost US death metal band from the early 90s here, and what do you know, they released this one album before disappearing into obscurity. This is nice basic death metal, nothing flashy, no flourishes, just grimy death served up on a steaming platter of charred remains. An original pressing on Grindcore Records.

Lemming Project - Extinction

Much like bands such as 'Demented Ted', I always felt that if these guys didn't have such a horrible name more people would be interested in taking note of their music. I quite enjoy this album from time to time, and think it's definitely a step above their lackluster sophomore album. Good, solid, dirty early 90s death metal from Germany. What's not to love? Ignore the name, and check them out - you won't regret it. An original pressing on Noise Records.

Vinterland - Welcome My Last Chapter

Here's another one of those bands that released a single album of fantastic material, only to disappear into obscurity. Whether this was through bad management, poor decision making or sheer bad luck, the reason for their disappearance certainly wasn't down to their music being shitty. High quality melodic black metal right here. Early pressing on No Fashion Records (note, the disc artwork is different compared to some pressings, so I'm guessing this was the final press No Fashion did before they disappeared completely).