It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written something about an album/EP by a small and relatively young band. But sugar never goes sour and thus I got In A Glow Of Crimson Red sent to me from Metalrage headquarters, the first mini CD of the Belgian band Soulsteeler, which was founded in 2001.
The first thing that I hear is the annoying guitar intro of ‘Break Down The Walls’. I got the idea that Soulsteeler wanted it to turn out like the intro of Metallica’s ‘Blackened’, but since it feels totally out of place I’d say that it failed. The monotonous vocals aside, ‘Break Down The Walls’ is a tight song with good guitar riffs and therefore a tasty appetizer of things to come.
Alas, it was not meant to be. In fact, it all goes downhill from here on. The guitar solos are supposed to come across as melodic, but a pause here and there wouldn’t have hurt. They all feel as if they’re done too hastily, something that a change in tempo sometimes could have altered significantly.
That and the simple drums aside, the vocals are the biggest disappointment. They always follow the same vocal curve, which makes it hard to tell songs apart from one another. Johan’s range is very limited and that brings him in dangerous situations. The high(er) notes sound fragile and I think he’s aware of that. But when avoiding high vocal lines, he twists his voice in an unpleasant way and as such finds himself on the verge of singing off key.
But hey… the band is young and the potential is there. The rhythm guitars are tight and with some changes in tempo and variety, maybe in the future Soulsteeler could turn out to be a welcome addition to the Belgian metal scene. Well, back to Pagan’s Mind. I know, I’m a spoiled little bastard. At least I’m man enough to admit it.
3. Prelude To Insanity
4. Crimson Red
5. Destiny's At Hand
Jeroen Dhondt - lead & rhythm guitars
Raf Nijs - keyboard
Sus Kaethoven - bass
Bart Janssen - drums