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.

Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice / Once Dead

Aussie thrashers Vengeance Rising here with their first two albums from '88 and '90 respectively. Originally forming (and indeed releasing their debut 'Human Suffering' under the name Vengeance, they had to add the 'Rising' as there was a copywrite claim on Vengeance (not surprising, really). Both released under the Intense Records label (yes, as a band they had a Christian leaning) - but don't let that put you off hearing some decent thrash, eh?

Hellbastard - Natural Order

Hellbastard started out as a straight up crusty hardcore punk band, but come 'Natural Order' (their 2nd proper album), they resembled something much closer to crossover thrash (with a lot of bay area kicks). As for most early 90s thrash, this has long missed the genres peak so was passed by by most, but there's still some gleams of teeth gritting, neck snapping awesomeness to be found. Earache Records!

Sinister - Cross The Styx / Diabolical Summoning

The first two albums from Dutch heavyweight death metal crew Sinister here, in original Nuclear Blast pressings. Their best couple of albums in my opinion, super heavy and angry fast death metal!

Gwar - Scumdogs of the Universe

Everyone knows Gwar, so there isn't really need for an explanation of style/substance here in my opinion! This was their 2nd full length, the album that saw them gain the attention of Metal Blade Records in 1990. This is an original Master Records pressing on CD, every pressing afterwards was released by Metal Blade. Not impossible to find by any means, but a first pressing none the less!

Negura Bunget - Vîrstele Pămîntului 'Earth Box'

This is the earth box version of Romanians Negura Bungets Vîrstele Pămîntului album, and still to this day I'm amazed it managed to get through customs with a huge scoop of soil and fauna sitting in it(!). Yes, this was released by code666 Records in a special limited edition - handmade wooden box (with 'burned' artwork), roped and filled with the very earth of the place it comes from, as well as a poster, a pin badge and a sticker. I can't quite remember, but I think it was *meant* to be limited to 555 copies, but due to production issues at the time, I'm not even sure that many were made (I remember having to wait a long time for it to be shipped to me due to everything being put together by hand).

Nile - Annihilation of the Wicked Tin Box

One of my personal favourite Nile albums here ('Lashed to the Slave Stick' is immense). I managed to score this in its limited edition tin set version a few months back for only a few pounds. The tin includes a shaped patch, a large poster of art and extended explanations to the lyrics of each song, an ankh necklace and a vinyl sticker. A good quality set!

Carcass - Surgical Steel Tin Box

'Surgical Steel' was a long time coming, but it was worth the wait for most followers of the originators of goregrind (and one of the inventors of melodic death metal too). This set was available for pre-order only, and was snapped up pretty smartish (it was originally meant to be limited to 666 copies, but it is actually limited to 1,000). Comes in a nice cold tin box, with a nice stash of first aid equipment such as bandages, plasters etc. Also, the scissors have 'Surgical Steel' printed on them which is a nice touch.

Toxik - World Circus / Think This

Toxik here with their two albums (so far their only two, but number three is apparently soon to be upon us, an epic quarter of a century after 'Think This'). Absolutely top quality speed/thrash here, with extremely technical riffage with power metal-esque vocal work (both albums featured different vocalists, but they shared similar styles). Not enough? OK, well why not throw in some top notch Ed Repka artwork on top. Well worth picking up in both cases. These are original CD pressings on Roadrunner/Roadracer Records.

Various Artists - Projections of a Stained Mind

I don't often post up many V/A albums (in fact I think I've only posted up a couple previously to now). However, this comp from 1991 has such importance on the burgeoning Scandinavian extreme metal scene that it just had to go up here. This is the white covered version (there is also a black covered version with the same content), and it features bands that went on to great renown (Entombed, Mayhem, Therion, Dismember, Tiamat etc), as well as bands who never ventured much further from the cult/demo stage (House of Usher, Nirvana 2002, Traumatic etc). All in all, a hugely influential album which helped to pass the then obscure music around the world in one lovely CD, released on CBR (Chickenbrain Records).

Titan Force - Titan Force / Winner/Loser

A great little discovery of a band for me, Titan Force. Basically, this is a project of Harry Conklin (a.k.a Tyrant of Jag Panzer) and for a relatively unknown band, this is pretty damn awesome. Powerful heavy/power metal anthems, with pretty much no cheese and plenty of fizzing riffage and strong compositions. The s/t debut album is on the a.b.s Classics label, and 'Winner/Loser' is the original pressing on Shark Records, a label which housed a cubic fuckton of greatness which most people are sadly barely aware of.

A Canorous Quintet - As Tears E.P / Silence of the World Beyond / The Only Pure Hate

Melodic Death Metal from Sweden's A Canorous Quintet. This, their early EP and two albums are packed full of flavoursome riffage, bursting with vitality and tons of melodic hooks (though, without every becoming sugar coated and retaining their death metal edge). Original pressings on Chaos Records / No Fashion Records / No Fashion Records respectively.

Lunar Aurora - Weltengänger / Seelenfeuer / Of Stargates and Bloodstained Celestial Spheres

The first three albums of the sublime Lunar Aurora, in original pressings (on Voices Productions, Voices Productions and Kettenhund Records respectively). Black metal brilliance right here, in fact there's so much quality in all of this bands releases really, but I'm just singling these out as they're the least easy to find in their original pressings (particularly their third album 'Of Stargates...'). Snap these up a.s.a.p if you find them.

Acrimony - Hymns To The Stone / Tumuli Shroomaroom

The two albums from English Stoner Doom crew Acrimony. For me, these are some of the finest examples of the genre - Black Sabbath, Sleep, Blue Cheer and Cream all chucked into the melting pot with a thick, fuzzy guitar tone to die for. Really hard to find these days, but well worth searching for - definitely pick them up if you find them. Original pressings on Godhead Records / Peaceville Records.

No Return - Psychological Torment / Contamination Rises / Seasons of Soul

The first three albums from France's No Return here and some of their best in my opinion. Their thrashy debut album ripped, then their 2nd album saw them move towards an old school death metal sound, with their third album seeing them move towards the groovier death sound they're known for these days - good stuff, and a world apart from their lesser more recent material (not a lot of which really does a lot for me). Original pressings on Semetary Records.

Electric Wizard - Electric Wizard / Come My Fanatics

The debut and second albums from Electric Wizard sees the band still in a very formative period sound-wise. Not a lot of their feedback drenched, fuzzed out pot induced madness is to be heard, with these being far more traditional in comparison - but you can still taste the weed in their deep Cathedral & Sabbath worshipping. Both featured here in their original first pressings on Rise Above Records.

Vital Remains - Let Us Prey / Into Cold Darkness

These death metal titans started out life on Peaceville offshoot Deaf Records with their rumbling nasty piece of work of a debut, 'Let Us Prey'. Nice, angry old school death metal. Their second album 'Into Cold Darkness' is also a crushing piece of work. Both original very first pressings and well worth tracking down.

Liar - Cheatin' Games

The second album from Germans Liar here on TRL records - long forgotten and long out of print. Liar had a very recognisable sound, pretty catchy with touches of power metal mixed into their thrashy/speed punch. Worth a look for fans of early Savatage & Testament.

Autopsy - The Tomb Within E.P

The supreme comeback EP from the masters of sickening doomy death metal themselves, Autopsy (a return I never thought I'd see, I might add). Many were happy with the 90s continuation of sorts by way of Abscess, but others like myself wanted the original Autopsy back. Still, I was surprised this went out of print so quickly, but it's not impossible to find for a decent price if you're patient. Peaceville Records.

Agressor - Towards Beyond

This is the 2nd album from French death/thrashers Agressor on Black Mark Records. There are a lot of bootlegs of these guys early material (their first three albums in particular), but this is an original pressing which I stumbled across in a 2nd hand store. Great music from a band not particularly well known in the metal community, so definitely one to check out.

Harter Attack - Human Hell

Harter Attack was the main project of Rich Harter, hailing from New Jersey USA. Appearing in the thrall of the US mid-to-late 80s thrash wave, they were very close to Nuclear Assault (in fact, Dan Lilker and Glenn Evans both helped to write some material here) and had a great thrashing vibe as you would probably expect. They pumped out this album in 1989 to decent acclaim, but unfortunately never managed to follow it up with a sophomore release (though, they did reform in 2011 - so watch this space!) . This is an original CD pressing on Metalcore Records, long out of print and worth tracking down.

Belial - Never Again

Belial's early material is held in generally high esteem, and quite rightly so. They went pretty strange towards the end of their career, adopting a more punkish rock vibe for their final album '3'. 'Never Again' however was their debut full length from 1993 - and it's well worth looking into for fans of extremity with huge hooks. This is an original pressing on Lethal Records (it was re-issued years later on Galgenstrang/Funeral Industries, but with completely different cover art).

Dripping - Disintegration of Thought Patterns During a Synthetic Mind Traveling Bliss

Pretty long title huh? Almost in Bal Sagoth territory there! Dripping's only full length studio album so far is one of the better examples of brutal death metal with a lot of flair and a whirlwind of hatred. Macabre Mementos Records released this back in 2002, but it soon disappeared from circulation and has become sought after by fans and eBay scalpers alike. Worth checking out!

Merciless - The Treasures Within / Unbound

Two albums from one of the very earliest blasts of extremity to make it out of Sweden. Merciless were renowned for their no nonsense deathly thrashing approach, with their debut album 'The Awakening' being the first to sign on Euronymous' Deathlike Silence label way back when. Both these albums are essential in my opinion, with their later self titled fourth album not quite recapturing the magic they had early on. These are original CD pressings on Active Records, and No Fashion Records respectively.

Asphyx - Asphyx / Embrace the Death / God Cries / On the Wings of Inferno

Here are four albums from Asphyx's less critically renowned period. Their debut and sophomore albums always seem to get the plaudits when it comes to discussions of the highlights of their career, but there's still a lot of quality to be found in these albums too (particularly their self titled album, and 'Embrace the Death' which was originally planned to be their debut album but shelved). All releases are original pressings on Century Media Records, and were out of print until a couple of years ago when the label decided to do the right thing and re-issue them (albeit with different artwork).

Accessory - Within Your Mind

This is the West Virginia Records re-issue of the one and only full length album from German thrashy deathsters Accessory. It was originally self released by the band, but then given a link to better distribution channels by this pressing. Decent music, but nothing as spellbinding as any of the classics in the genre. After these guys split the members went on to form another band, Colour Trip, who had much more of a hardcore edge to their sound - pretty weak in comparison to their stint as Accessory from what little I've heard.

Havoc - Father Jones

Another slice of obscurity here with Havoc, from Washington USA. Ignoring the overly Christian lyrical stance, this is some decent US heavy metal with touches of power. Father Jones (1992) was their only full length release, before they disappeared altogether a couple of years later. Only pressing on B&N Records, not particularly easy to find these days.

Accursed - Meditations Among the Tombs

The one and only full length album from Wisconsin's Accursed here, featuring strange and feverish black/death metal with a lot of odd touches of synth and a cold gothic atmosphere. These guys split up soon after it's release (1995), and are yet another band to feature in the 'where are they now' file. Original press on Visceral Productions (another label to have fallen by the wayside over the years).

Decrepitaph - Condemned Cathedral

The debut album from Decrepitaph, delivering a nice hit of Razorback styled deathly horror. Strangely hard to come by these days, but if you're patient enough you can still pick it up for a decent price. Original press on Razorback Records.

Gutted - Bleed For Us To Live

Ohio's Gutted here, with their debut album from 1994 'Bleed For Us To Live'. If you frequent metal forums, chances are you've come across these guys in an 'underground death metal gems' thread, or suchlike. These guys got quite the name for themselves after disappearing into the ether thanks to the age of the internet, and there's plenty to like about their sound. Down-tuned, mid-paced and gnarled death metal is the order of the day, with truly crushing vocals and guitar tone. An original pressing on Red Light Records, and out of print - even the band themselves released a CD-r copy of this for fans in 2007 which was remastered. Hard to find for a low price these days, more so if you can find one without a hole-punched barcode.


Nuclear Assault - Something Wicked

After 'Survive' (which is STILL perplexingly out of print), this is probably the 2nd hardest to find of Nuclear Assault albums these days. As an album, it's really not so great - more regular 'heavy' than 'thrash', the guys were well past their best and had clearly lost the will to write good material at this point in their career. They split soon afterwards, ending their first run together as a band. Still, for posterity's sake here it is! An original press on IRS Records, currently (and probably rightfully) out of print.

Mercyful Fate - The Beginning

This legendary compilation of Mercyful Fate is its early original Roadrunner pressing with the old artwork (later replaced on future pressings by a more explosive erupting volcano with much more in the way of red hues in comparison to this dark original. Featuring their great 'Nuns Have No Fun' EP, extra BBC studio sessions and a B side track, this contains one of my favourite Fate tracks - 'A Corpse Without Soul'. Gotta love the King!

Psychopath - Making the Transition

The debut (and only) album from US progressive death/thrash metallers Psychopath. Released on the long defunct C&C/Major Records, this was a tasty snap of proggy (but not always tight or technical) death metal with thrashy overtones, delivering a good blast into the ballbags. It doesn't matter that it's not polished or that the production isn't the greatest, it has a nice old school vibe with genuine riffage and that's good enough for me. Out of print, but not that hard to find for a decent price if you're patient. *Note* - The disc looks pink in the pic, whereas in reality it's a deep red - my scanner must've been having an off day!