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.

Promethean Reign - Aftó Eínai Pólemos

Living in the backwoods of rural Oxfordshire, it’s always pleasing when an extreme metal band raises its gnarled head from the murky waters of the River Windrush and proceeds to spray you with distortion, bile and phlegm. Blackened death metal crew Promethean Reign are the latest band to spawn from the darkest recesses of Witney, releasing only a few pieces of demo material up until this, their debut EP release entitled ‘Aftó Eínai Pólemos’ (translating roughly to an approximation of ‘This Is War’ in English).

Opening with a foreboding Emperor-styled synth piece, ‘By the Ashen Light of Dawn’ demonstrates directly what the band are about, by segueing into a feast of slow burning tremolo picked harmonised guitar and double bass drum work. The harshly spat vocals are well enunciated, punctuated with moments of clearly announced oratory pieces, adding to the dark feeling of revenge and hatred the lyrics convey. ‘The Great Deceiver’ features more of the demonic harmonised tremolo picking that At the Gates utilized to great effect in their very earliest of works, before smashing into the ground running with inexorable down-tuned carnage, squealing guitars and barely contained chaotic drum work, leveling landscapes to smouldering remains as they go.

‘Dead Gods and Excrement’ shows no sign of letting up either, whipping up a maelstrom of furious guitars and crashing percussion over embittered vocals, grabbing you by the throat and choking you out for the entire 3 minutes of its run time. ‘Titanomachy’ begins with its foot off the gas, creeping slowly into your psyche with Mayhem-styled shimmering cold guitars, which shape shift into writhing, serpentine riffage. By the time the chorus arrives, it has a rather eastern flavour, which when coupled with bellows of “We Will Rise!”, gives off a strongly triumphant vibe to the proceedings. The EP finishes up on a high with ‘Burn’, a rapturous Morbid Angel-esque stomper which is swathed in dark mysticism, and features some of the best solos and riff work on the EP. Overall, Promethean Reign remind me of a looser, freer flowing Behemoth at times. Perhaps not quite as blasting or immaculately arranged as their Polish brethren, but with a billowing organic fustiness to them that brings to mind many great bands from the Greek extreme metal scene (the fact the EP was recorded live, rather than clinically pieced together on Pro Tools likely helps this). This is the physical release on digipak, limited to 100 hand numbered copies – so if you’re a physical music lover like myself, best to act quickly. 

This is certainly a promising start for the band, who I’m sure will continue to improve and hone their creative vision to an even sharper point than shown here – good stuff.

Sore Throat - Disgrace To The Corpse Of Sid / Unhindered By Talent

Gnarled punk/hardcore/grind from the legendary Sore Throat. This compiles two of the bands releases into one CD, both of which were never given the CD treatment in Europe until this point. This was bought through Earache, and is an Earache release - however it wasn't around for long. Even the cover mentions not to pay "more than £50 on eBay" - hahaha! A nice trinket for the collector.

Wehrmacht - Biermächt / Shark Attack

This CD combines the two albums from US crossover/thrashers Wehrmacht - 'Biermacht' & 'Shark Attack'. Released firstly on Shark Records, this is the a.b.s Records version. Original label New Renaissance counts this edition as a bootleg, mentioning that any CD released after 1990 is a boot. I'm not totally convinced, but I don't have the band's take on the situation.

Savage Messiah - Spitting Venom

The first EP from thrash/power/heavy metal crew Savage Messiah. Not the easiest thing to find these days, I received this for reviewing purposes back when it was released in 2007. These guys have gone from strength to strength, with a sound packed with riffs and melodies coming out from every orifice.

Prophecy of Doom - Matrix

The 2nd album from Prophecy of Doom released by Metalcore Records in 1992. Featuring reliably authentic old school sound, with a fierce guitar tone and growled vocals - whilst it won't blow you away with originality, it makes up it in enthusiasm and power. Good shit!

Kataklysm - Vision The Chaos

The was a 2005 issue on CD of the earliest of EPs from Canadian Hyperblast kings, Kataklysm. Indeed, this came even before their debut album, originally released as a 7" on Boundless Records (1994), this was released by Skyscraper Music. This obviously featured their early sound winding epic DM sound, a mile away from the thick skulled pounding they dish out these days. Less than 12 minutes of music over 2 tracks - but well worth checking out.

Trouble - Trouble / The Skull / Run To The Light

Masters of doomy goodness Trouble here, with the masterful Eric Wagner and co laying down the doomy misery through their 80s period. They went on to have a more psychedelic/stoner vibe as they continued on into the 90s and beyond, but I've always prefered their early days best. Pictured are the first three albums, with all bar the self titled debut CD & DVD reissue on Escapi Music released on Metal Blade, with a compilation of the first two albums in one set.

Weakling - Dead As Dreams

The sole album from Weakling here, 'Dead As Dreams' still holds up as one of the finest pieces of USBM for me nearly 20 years since it was created. Long, mesmerising songs (no track is less than 10 minutes in length), and an unhealthy fixation on war and spite. This isn't an easy album to digest by any means, but a rewarding one. Tumult Records.

Sleep - Volume One

Daddies of 90s stoner doom Sleep here, with their debut album 'Volume One'. I picked this up in the mid-nineties, and realised that of late it's not easy to find on any physical format. With the band reforming and creating music once more, hopefully their back catalogue will get a much needed re-release for those that crave it. Tupelo Recording Company.

Winter - Into Darkness / Eternal Frost

Classic doom/death here from New York's Winter. This is the Metal Mind re-issue from 2008, which combines their debut and EP into one beautiful digipak, numbered and limited to 2000 units. For fans of soul scouring, slow and doomy death metal, this is not one to miss out on - but if you're a fan, no doubt you will already know of its greatness.

Slugathor - Unleashing The Slugathron / Circle of Death

Slugathor were one of the gnarliest death metal bands to ever drool out of cold, grey Finland. Pictured are the original pressings of their debut and sophomore albums, both of which are pretty hard to come across these days, and going for silly money on the usual marketplace sites. If you like your death metal raw, sick and angry, you can't go far wrong with these two little beauties. 'Circle of Death' was later reissued with a red logo, but this is the original with the pus yellow logo.

Slaughter - Strappado

This is the Metal Mind re-issue of some prime classic death/thrash from Canadians Slaughter. Limitation of 2,000 copies, this is as hard to track down as some of the earlier pressings these days, but comes with the bonus of live tracks in addition to the original album itself. A must for fans of the old school, this is a beastly force to be reckoned with.

Ulver - Vargnatt

'Vargnatt' is the fine demo of Ulver, the one time black metal band who went on to metamorphose into any number of genres you'd care to mention. This came before any of their full length outputs, and is a beauty in this re-issued CD by Kyrck Productions, in a leather (or, faux leather?) bound book. A real treat.

Warpath - Damnation

A nice piece of obscurity here, featuring British thrashers Warpath. These guys self released this debut album in 2008, then seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. A shame, as this is a top old school thrash album. Lots of euro thrash influences to be heard here, not to mention a good helping of US/Bay Area, they manage to cream off the best of their influences and mould it into their own impressive shape. A real head turner, which is worth tracking down.

Tomb Mold - Primordial Malignity

A nice slab of gnarled old school death metal from Blood Music here, the debut album from Tomb Mold 'Primordial Malignity'. As a fairly new band, they certainly hit the ground running and smash all the right notes on their journey into slime filled death. You're certainly going to need to crack a window when playing this one, unless you happen to love the stench of decaying crypts. Killer stuff.

Abramelin - Deadspeak

The 2nd album from Australia's brilliant Abramelin here, featuring some of their best produced, face punching death metal. Thick, angry and chunky, this bristles with unbridled rage and blasts through you like an out of control freight train. This is the original pressing on Shock/Thrust Records, but their discography was re-issued by Century Media if you're looking for a more affordable physical option.

Alcest - Kodama

Alcest have certainly changed style through the ages of their existence, blowing through their earlier more atmospheric black metal oriented material before settling for a post-metal/shoegaze sound which they've clung to ever since. Everything about this is about as far from metal as you can get in reality, but being a fan of the likes of My Bloody Valentine, I still embrace their dreamy, solipsistic sound.

Sceptic - Blind Existence / Pathetic Being / Unbeliever's Script / Internal Complexity

Technical death metal from the magnificent Sceptic from Poland. This is the band of guitarist Jacek Hiro, a former live guitarist for Decapitated and formally of Dies Irae. Over a lot of their early material they sounded like the latter 'tech' period of Death's career. These guys are incredibly technical but tuneful with it, and enough genuine riffery to carry it through without just being a showcase of guitar gymnastics. Well worth a look - my personal favourite is their debut, 'Blind Existence'.

Torture Killer - For Maggots To Devour / Swarm! / Sewers / Phobia

Starting out as a Six Feet Under covers band (with their name taken from a song from SFU's 'Maximum Carnage'), these Finns started out sounding very similar too. However later into their career they found their own path (even with Chris Barnes himself guesting on multiple tracks of their album 'Swarm!'). Out of these four, I actually prefer their most recent album 'Phobia' - it's pretty deadly. Fans of SFU need to check these guys out, and for those who aren't - check out 'Phobia'  & 'Sewers'.

Visceral Evisceration - Incessant Desire For Palatable Flesh

More doomy death metal here from Austrians Visceral Evisceration. These guys didn't hang around for long, with this being their sole full length album from 1994. The music on offer is actually fairly melodious (considering the artwork would perhaps point to a gore grind styled approach), these guys had something more in common with earlier Paradise Lost than early Carcass. One of the earlier releases on a then budding Napalm Records (this being the very first pressing), these guys changed their name to As I Lay Dying (no, that THAT As I Lay Dying), and released a demo before disbanding completely. A small, but perfectly formed piece of the massive jigsaw that is European metal.

Novembers Doom - Bled White

I always seem to be about an album behind with Novembers Doom, picking up each of their 'most recent' albums just as the next one is about to drop. This is their 2014 album 'Bled White' (album number 9, in fact) which features more of their downbeat, growly death/doom, packed with sorrow, aching melodies and when the feeling requires, a bit of head down crushery. Can't really fault these guys, as they've consistently released quality music album after album. The End Records.

Sortilège - Sortilege EP / Metamorphose

The early EP and debut album from French trad/heavy metal band Sortilège here, both in numbered limited copies (5,000 for each) on Axe Killer Records. A real gem from the underground here, these guys are exactly what you'd expect to hear when the words 'heavy metal' are uttered. Blazing solos, twin leads, melodic sections, soaring falsetto vocals and a pounding rhythm section - all in a days work for these boys. Surprising these guys never made their name the likes of ADX or Blaspheme did - they're every bit as good.

Winterfylleth ‎– The Divination Of Antiquity (Digipak)

The fourth album from Winterfylleth here, bursting with Saxon pride and generally being in awe of beautiful untouched landscapes and nature. This is the limited digipak pressing that they did which was actually very limited - I'm not sure the amount but it's become quite a collectors piece these days. If you're a fan of the genre, this is definitely worth a listen if you've not come across the band already, one of the bands doing their bit to make Britain great again.

Chakal - Abominable Anno Domini

Classic is a word bandied around far too easily in music. But Chakal's debut album 'Abominable Anno Domini' is a bone fide Brazilian thrash metal classic if ever there was one. It was available only on vinyl for a long time (from its original release of 1987 through until the first standalone CD issue in 2005). Here it is featured in both its CD forms, pictured at the top the re-issue from Cogumelo (licensed through Greyhaze Records), and below the original Cogumelo digipak pressing - both sadly out of print. Both come with the 'Living With The Pigs' EP as bonus tracks. The band went on to play much more groove-oriented metal later in their careers, but their debut was a fiery blast of tropical heat from the depths of the Brazilian jungles. Oh, and if you recognise the cover art, it's because it's 'The Triumph of Death', painted by Pieter Bruegel - also used in many other metal cover artworks (Angelcorpse's 'Hammer of Gods' to name but one).

Storm - Nordavind

The pagan/viking metal supergroup from Norway here, Storm. For those who are unaware, this featured Satyr (Satyricon), Fenriz (Darkthrone) and Kari (The Third & The Mortal) playing an approximation of folsky viking metal. It's actually really good, and having owned it for years and years, I'm surprised I've not featured it on this site before. Original pressing on Satyr's own Moonfog Productions.

Vindicator - There Will Be Blood / The Antique Witcheries

The first two albums from US thrashers Vindicator here, featuring some of the finest 'new' thrash you could possibly wish for. Not that it sounds new (the best stuff doesn't in my opinion), but seeing as these were released in 2008 and 2010 respectively, I guess they aren't exactly of the old school. Anyhow, old, new, whatever - this digs deep and thrashes your head against the stage exactly as you'd expect. Well worth picking these up if you can find them nestling in 2nd hand shop shelves (it'd be a struggle to buy 'em new these days as their debut was self released, and their sophomore album was on the now defunct Heavy Artillery Records - thus both are out of print).

Woods of Ypres / Necramyth - IV: The Green Album / Slaughter of the Seoul

The 4th album from the late, great Woods of Ypres here, in it's original first pressing on Practical Art Records.  This was the version which came with a bonus album of material from Necramyth, a South Korean black/death metal band which David Gold played drums for at the time. 'IV: The Green Album' wasn't Woods of Ypres finest hour, but still an enjoyable album of material - the Necramyth stuff is also not to be sniffed at.

Heathen - Breaking The Silence

The original pressing of the debut album from US speed/thrash crew Heathen here, released on Combat Records. This is pretty renowned as it is, with Heathen garnering a good following for good reason. However, I personally prefer their 2nd album 'Victims of Deception' which came in 1991. Not particularly aggressive, with a lot of speed/power metal influence in their sound (particularly something like 'Goblin's Blade'). Anyhow, still a strong effort and a powerful start from a well loved band.

Deceiver - Tales of Time

Maximum obscurity from the depths of Germany's early 90s trad metal scene here. Deceiver formed in the mid-80s, releasing a single full length album 'Tales of Time'. Originally released on vinyl in 1991, this was the CD pressing which came a few years later in 1994. Nothing to lose your mind over, but and interesting piece of work non-the-less, hitting all the usual tropes you'd expect from classic/traditional heavy metal.

Believer - Extraction from Mortality

The debut album from Believer, the tech/prog thrash band who  - along with the likes of Deliverance and Sacrament - used to espouse Christianity back in the late 80s. Later in their career, they moved more into a more philosophical & scientific mindset for their lyrical inspiration, which I can't complain about. For me, along with their sophomore album 'Sanity Obscure' this is some of their best material however, so this is well worth picking up for the fans of forward thinking, progressive thrash metal. Original pressing on Rex Records.

Abyssal - Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius

This is the equally out of print re-issue (limited to 1,000 copies) of Abyssal's 2nd album on Profound Lore. The original press was self released by the band on CD-r only. For the uninitiated, this is a project from the UK which combines gnarly death, black and doom into a maelstrom of an album which recalls the likes of Portal & Antediluvian amongst other noise makers which share a similar outlook. Completely devastating - check this band out.

Taake - Striden Hus

Taake's most recent album here (from 2014 - they have been quiet of late) This is one that frankly I'd been slow to pick up (being a tight wad, I was merely waiting for the right price). As always with Taake the music is yet more great Norwegian black metal, with Hoest and co. shrouding things in a foggy cold atmosphere that pervades the darkness. Digipak pressing on Dark Essence.