Written by: Valkyrjiaa
Steelbourne – A Tale as Old as Time
>Released April 29
It’s often said to be a shame that bands don’t hold true to the classic heavy metal feel and sound that came with the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and others. That generations, while inspired by the soaring vocals, and mind-bending riffs, fail to represent, or even ascend to the same heights. But that’s all a myth now that Steelbourne has taken the stage.
Initially a lockdown project that had solidified itself on finishing unreleased material from their previous band, Steelbourne emerged from the furious extension of creative writing. From this, the album, A Tale as Old as Time emerged – igniting an inferno that would soon be revealed to the world in April of 2022.
Hailing to the mastery of the legends of old while pushing contemporary boundaries, Steelbourne endeavoured to create a modern take on the classic heavy metal sound.
A Tale as Old as Time is a seven-track album that goes old school; with tracks incorporating Medieval titles and roots to hammer down their foundations, they embody the traditional tales and storytelling, but not without their own flare.
Beginning with “By Way of the Serpent” you get an immediate feel for their heavy metal inspirations with familiar riffs and drums hitting your ears. It’s easy to find the melody, moving you along whether with subtle foot taps or full on headbangs, it’s difficult to resist. The heavy solo, extending from a grinding low to a star-shattering high is stunning in its execution, allowing listeners to really get into the band’s sound with ease.
Accompanied by a lyric video comes the title track “A Tale as Old as Time” that stands as the band’s longest song on the album, and in my opinion, its most “classic” in sound and feel. Having debuted a year earlier in 2021, this track gave listeners a true feel for the band’s sound and story. Troels‘ vocal performance is one that calls to Judas Priest for inspiration with grinding lows and remarkable highs reminiscent of British Steel. The solo in this track is divine, ascending the earth and spanning beyond the horizon in its deliverance. Speed kicks in right after to headbangers’ delight and launches into a buffet of delectable guitars that are amplified by the rhythmic drumming at their back.
“King of Kings” goes hard in its own way. Playing to the metal ballads’ call, you get a stunning performance by the combination of Jacob, Simon K., Benjamin, and Simon S. breaking down drums and chords for an emotional melody that truly claims the soul. A tale of love and loss that’s not only sung but felt in its composition from low and strong vocals, to the gentle acoustics; it’s a fine break from the ruggedness of the album, featuring its own heartbreaking solo three quarters through. This track would truly have lighters in the air, not cell phone lights. Think old school – lighters.
Tracks like “Defiler” and “Dear God” hold their own signature mark on the album with influential metal riffs and vocal essentials that really bring an energy to the classic feel. From steady beats to solos, each track calls to the legends for inspiration, and Steelbourne is not denied, taking the call of their heroes and bending it to their will.
Another lengthy track is “Requiem/For Those About to Die” that adds in contemporary nods with its introduction, cranking cinematic-style instrumentals against their own metal melody to create fantasy and fire in the air. The gentle choir and hymn paint the image of a winding road that stops at the roots of an ancient tree amidst the small grave markers that surround it. A day of rain and weariness that soon turns to vengeance, guitars kick up the mood, turning regret into revenge as we set out on our path. Things really pick up at the 4-minute mark as we feel the blood-boiling purpose in this track’s melody, driving lyrics that fire up the hearts of young heroes to push them past the idea of death – to fight on. Naturally, this track isn’t without its own blistering solo that burns in the last minute or so with its sword-like slash of precision.
“Inferno” winds out the album with a bit of snare and string plucking to build the ambiance. It has Iron Maiden vibes in both its rhythm and story-telling elements, reminiscent of tracks like “Number of the Beast”. The combination of speed and heaviness on this track really shocked me, absolutely knocking my expectations out of the water, and perfectly completing this album’s classic feel and creation.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Steelbourne truly brings the hammer down on their claim to a classic heavy metal sound with a twist. With familiar and nostalgic sounds that pull in our interest, and takes that gets us listening, the audience truly gets a feel for Steelbourne and their own unique additions; this not only makes A Tale as Old as Time an instant classic but, one that holds its own place among greats with a note that says “like them but, wilder”.