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.

Despair - Decay of Humanity / Beyond All Reason

Here are the 2nd & 3rd albums from German technical thrash/speed metal crew Despair. The bands first album was always one of the many banes of my Metal Collecting life, as I've not yet managed to find an original copy at a decent price (it was released on CD in 1988 and limited to 1,500 copies - thus is ideal moneyspinner on eBay whenever it does appear). There is a re-issue due imminently so I hear, so I look forward to finally having a CD copy at least! Anyhow, these two albums are pretty great, with 1990s 'Decay of Humanity' having the edge over 1992s 'Beyond all Reason' in pure awesomeness stakes. These guys are best know for featuring guitarist Waldemar Sorychta (who later went on to be the main man of boring thrashers Grip Inc. with Slayer's Dave Lombardo in the 90s, and became a popular producer for the likes of Unleashed, Tiamat & Samael) and also vocalist Andreas Henschel was formally the head of Century Media records. Both CDs are original pressings on Century Media, and long since out of print.

Enthroned - Prophecies of Pagan Fire

Here we have the 1995 debut album from legendary Belgian black metal crew Enthroned. These guys eventually got lumped in with the whole 'Norsecore' or 'Washing Machine Metal' thing which elitist tried to perpetrate to shit on the style, alongside the likes of Dark Funeral and a stack of other decent bands. Each to their own I guess - personally I love this shit. Great artwork as usual by Kris Verwimp too. Original 1st pressing on Evil Omen Records (an old offshoot label for Osmose Records).

Agony - The First Defiance

Another band who released one full length album only to disband, cutting their careers criminally short. Agony were a bunch of thrashing Swedes from the late 80s who knew exactly how to kick out the jams to an excellent level. Really great thrash, do not pass this up if you manage to find this. There are a shit ton of bootlegs of this album too (one I came across just has the matrix code 'The First Defiance', and the artwork was pretty faded and blurry - bad). This is an original Under One Flag first pressing, so again - zoom on the matrix if you're on the look out for a copy to know what to look for. Well worth hunting down.

Mania - Changing Times

Excellent speed metal here from Germany's Mania. These guys only released one full length album, and judging by the quality of it, it's a damn shame. The CD version features their 'Wizard of the Lost Kingdom' EP as bonus tracks, which is also great. There are a lot of bootlegs of this flying around, so tracking down an original copy isn't at all easy these days - I lucked out however in a 2nd hand store where I was able to check the matrix code, so if you're hunting one down zoom in on the matrix as this is 100% legit.

Spasme - Deep Inside

The one and only album from Canadian's Spasme here, featuring Martin Lacroix on vocals - the guy who was in Cryptopsy for a short while and appeared on their live album. This is very much 'Canadian styled' technical death metal, and it's good a really catchy feel about it rather that just being blitzed with a torrent of guitar histrionics! Self released by the band.

Agalloch - Of Stone, Wind & Pillor / Grey E.P / White E.P

These E.Ps went out of print pretty quickly, probably because Agalloch seem to have an insane following these days and there's always a crazy clamour for their limited EP material in particular. The White & Grey EPs were limited to 2,000 units and 1,000 units respectively, but I'm not certain about the limitation of the 'Of Stone, Wind & Pillor' EP - I think it could've been 2,500, but don't quote me on that. The White & Grey EPs feature dreamy, folky music (with the Grey in particular featuring an ambient remix track), whereas 'Of Stone..' features more of their embryonic black metal roots. Original pressings on The End Records, Vendulus and Vendulus respectively.

Abomination - Abomination / Tragedy Strikes

The two full length albums of prime death/thrash from Chicago's very own Abomination, one of the many projects of Paul Speckmann (also of legends Master, Death Strike, Funeral Bitch et al). Personally, I've always considered this to be one of his better projects, especially the self titled debut which is fantastic. Abomination split in 1993, reforming and recording new material in 1999, and they're still an active project to this day. Finger crossed for a new full length if these two are anything to go by. These were re-issued by Polish label Metal Mind, but these are the original Nuclear Blast pressings from 1990 and 1991 respectively.

Pan Thy Monium - Dream II / Dawn of Dreams / Khaooohs

Now, I may just be going a bit senile here, but I'm CERTAIN I posted these up previously. I even remember scanning them before, but somehow - nope they're not on my blog. Anyhow, Gremlins notwithstanding, here they are again in all their glory - the early EP and first two albums from Dan Swano's Pan.Thy.Monium. Just look at all those genres listed below... haha - it's death metal Jim, but not as you know it. Winding, experimental, progressive and doomy - this project covered all bases and pleased most. At first the sound was alien to me, but upon multiple re-visits each of their releases just opened up into a vast mindfuck of listenability. All are original pressings on Avantgarde Music, Osmose & Osmose respectively.

Exmortem - Labyrinths of Horror / Dejected in Obscurity

The first two albums from Denmark's Exmortem here, featuring fast and brutal death metal throughout. These guys had quite the career, starting out as Mordor for one demo, before deciding on Exmortem for their first album - it's just a shame that not so many people have heard their name before. They managed to release 6 albums over their career before sadly calling it a day in 2010. Both these albums showcase some of their best material in my opinion, both released on Euphonious Records (the debut from 1995, and the sophomore album 1998). Both now out of print.

Deathless - Anhedonia

Here is the 1992 debut album from Deathless, a old doomy band with industrial influences from the UK, who actually originated from Australia. These guys have a fair bit of industrial vibe in their sound as mentioned before, with a hypnotic and intense feel that sometimes reminds me of the starkness of Godflesh or very early Pitchshifter. To be honest, I've really got to be in the right mindset and mood for music like this (same goes for when listening to Godflesh actually in my case). When you are feeling it though, you can't beat it. Original pressing on Electrip Records, and long out of print.

Cancer - To The Gory End / Death Shall Rise / The Sins of Mankind

Early English death metal here (with thrashy moments!) from Telford's Cancer. Telford is a shithole, so it's no wonder their death metal is pretty gnarled and angry sounding. James Murphy (Death, Obituary, Testament et al!) joined the band for their 'Death Shall Rise' album, which is generally seen as their pièce de résistance (it's my personal favourite too, along with their wonderfully basic - but brilliant debut). The Sins of Mankind is pretty much the runt of the litter, and saw the band start to spin into a downward spiral - still, it does have its positive points so it isn't all bad. Original early pressings on Vinyl Solution/Restless (1992), Restless (1991) and Restless (1993) respectively.

Macabre - Gloom / Sinister Slaughter

The first two albums from America's comedic sickos Macabre, in their early CD pressings on Vinyl Solution Records and Nuclear Blast respectively, with the debut album featuring their Grim Reality E.P as bonus tracks. Great, sick and funny grinding death metal, in the usual Macabre vein (i.e, grinding nursery rhymes about serial killers!).

Phlebotomized - Preach Eternal Gospels EP / Immense, Intense, Suspense / Skycontact

Phlebotomized are one of those bands who were barely known by most folk until the age of the intarweb helping to beam quality metal into all our homes. Their music started out pretty much standard doom and gloom death metal in their early days, but in their album period there were many more peeks of weird experimentation and oddness (particularly on 'Skycontact' which is a strange beast - they even made their logo more 'readable' - usually a sign of a band selling out, but not in this case). But, when you have an album with a track called "I Lost My Cookies in the Disco" (which I'm pretty certain originated from Sesame Street), you know something has gone seriously wrong in the brain department. All original early pressings, with the 'Preach Eternal Gospels' EP on the wonderfully named Malodorous Mangled Innards Records label, and the two full length albums on Dutch label Cyber Music.

Deranged - Rated X

The debut album from these brutal Swedes here, in an original pressing on Dave Rotten's Repulse Records. A great album to stick on if you're wanting to blow out the cobwebs, mindless musical carnage blowing chunks all over your cowering earlobes. Gotta love it! The re-press on Listenable records does have bonus tracks from their early EPs, but has some shitty photo-shopped cover art that wasn't a patch on the original movie still you see here (the name of the movie escapes me, feel free to let me know!)

Nile - Festivals of Atonement EP

Gotta love these guys, and in my opinion they've barely put a foot wrong in their career. Here is the 1995 EP release from Nile, and the start of the bands move away from their earlier demo sound into more crushing territories that people know and love them for today. An original press, self released by the band on their own Anubis Records label.

Dark Millennium - Ashore The Celestial Burden / Diana Read Peace

German crew Dark Millennium here, with their two full length albums. They never lasted long, forming, putting out these releases, then splitting all over the course of around five years. Personally, I prefer the debut to their sophomore effort, as it seems to have a stronger focus on songwriting in my opinion. Still, fairly decent doomy death metal to be found here, with a progressive edge that's clear to hear in a lot of their material. Both are original pressings on Massacre Records.