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.