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TRUE STRENGTH - Steel Evangelist

True Strength - Steel Evangelist

Over the years there has been a plethora of heavy metal bands who have released albums on their own, some with greater success than others. Their success or failure is usually based on the quality of the work offered, i.e. musicianship, production, lyrical content, availability, so on and so forth. More often than not it’s not the last item in that list which crushes a band’s hopes. Instant everything has made unavailability a non-existent claim.

True Strength play heavy metal more along the lines of Cirith Ungol, not usually simple verse chorus verse chorus arrangements, those items do appear in True Strength’s compositions from time to time. However longer arrangements seem to be the order of the day on Steel Evangelist, as a matter of fact all of the tracks clock in between five and ten plus minutes long. None of what I’ve mentioned so far are a dissuader to this headbanger.

The absolute wall I hit when listening to True Strength is the vocal melodies are amateurish at best. The best way to describe it, is trying to cram as many lyrics into a phrase as possible, but they don’t fit to begin with. There are times when words on the written page make sense when you read it but trying to sing it is unwieldy at best, and because of that the listener is trying to decipher what’s going on.

Cilician Gates is a prime example,

Shortly after Christ had risen; a man was called to serve in his name

Believers had feared him; persecution was part of his fame

But he changed on the road to Damascus; and Saul became Paul on the day

An apostle of the Lord; he set out on the world to proclaim

That is simply the first unwieldy verse in this long history lesson which goes in great detail about the exploits of Paul. Please understand the content here is not the issue, it’s the lack of a memorable fluid melodic line which the listener can follow and enjoy.

Imagine a rap without the rhyme or groove, or a lyric which is so explicit down to the punctuation that there is no room left for the feeling or emotion which is what music is supposed to convey. The great songs hit you on first blush with a strong powerful emotional hook that allows the lyrical content to become relevant, other wise you’re reading words from a page with music behind it.

True Strength has some talented players. The vocalist can hit his mark more times then not, he does hit the upper end of his range on the title track. I had a very difficult time making it through the album because the lack of strong vocal melodies, while over descriptive lyrical content is shoved into every musical movement.

True Strength should attempt to work with a producer in developing song arrangements and vocal melodies/phrasing. That would help the band be more effective in communicating the message they are trying to get across and would allow them to reach a great audience. I love the underground stuff — I always have; sometimes however the first ten or so songs you write aren’t always your best. Whether that was the case here or not remains to be seen, lets see what True Strength can accomplish on their next album.


NOTE: There are currently two editions of this release "out there." This album was originally released digitally only in May 2016, and you will still find that version out there like on But the version reviewed here is the Feb 2017 reissue. Per the label:

TRUE STRENGTH's sophomore album "Steel Evangelist" was independently released digitally, May 15th, 2016, on Pentecost. However upon that original release, "Steel Evangelist" suffered slightly from production quality issues due to budgetary restrictions. However, all of this changed when the band was signed by Roxx Records in late 2016-early 2017. Bill Roxx put the band in touch with engineer Cliffy Walker (Guitarist of the renowned Christian punk band "The Huntingtons") to remaster the "Steel Evangelist" release, and this new version is like night and day in comparison to the original and the band and their label cannot wait for the world to hear it and own it for the first time ever on CD format!

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