Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Time for something heavy, time for something high energy, time for Toledo Steel. This metalliferous Southampton quartet have stoked the very inferno that feeds Pyriphlegethon, Hades’ burning river of flame with their latest release ‘Heading For The Fire’.
This is their second long playing offering – the challenging sophomore album if you like – following on from their 2018 debut ‘No Quarter’.
It has been a decade long road to reach this point and it’s clearly been time well invested. This is a four-piece that is fully match-fit and raring to go! Clocking in at a shade over 43 minutes this eight track platter is a propoundment of much quality; a fine re-imagining of classic 80s NWOBHM.
From the very off with the balls-to-the-wall rocker ‘On the Loose’. it’s an incandescently blistering missile. Vocalist Rich Rutter roars “Full speed, no brakes” as Toledo wildly career headlong towards the metaphorical horizon without ever losing control of the large quantity of ‘horses’ beneath their collective bonnet.
The hard revving ‘Into the Unknown’ is five and half minutes of scorching fretwork from sole guitarist Tom Potter doing the shifts of two with Rutter continuing to extract from the high-grade vein of towering vocals that soar effortlessly.
There’s ‘Writing’s on the Wall’ and it prophesises of Herculean riffs and warhammer strength rhythms. From behind his kit Matt Dobson lays down a thunderous beat that entwines with Felix Dock’s inch-perfect bass to provide the sureness in foundation for Potter and Rutter to evoke those halcyon days of the early 80s.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ prowls with the dynamics of a full-fervoured hunt. A screeching six-string solo and an infectious chorus ensure this track will be filed under the category ‘memorable’.
Fists pump and horns are raised towards the heavens as the south-coast metallers quaff from goblets brimful of molten lava. Heading towards the mid-point of the album and there’s ‘No Time to Lose’. A swift chopping intro soon segues into a snarling beast as the duelling blades glint in the full moonlight.
Potter brings in the indestructible ‘Wicked Woman’ with a rich assuredness before Dobson and Dock strike a tolling beat. Rutter’s vocals tip the scales; if you’ve wondered what the offspring of Cooper and Snider would sound like wonder no more!
A gentle somewhat ethereal intro with Rutter’s vocals taking on a gritty edge eases ‘Rituals By the Firelight’ in before transitioning into heavier dimensions as the quadrumvirate explore the consequences of raising the evils of a realm beyond.
There are subtle touches of Maiden’s Seventh Son era herein but without transcending into direct carbon copies; it’s safe to say influences are proudly worn on their sleeves but Toledo Steel are forging their own identity.
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