Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Steamhammer Speech album cover
3.30 | 44 ratings | 9 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Penumbra (22:34)
a. Entrance
b. Battlements
c. Passage to Remorse
d. Sightless Substance
e. Mortal Thought
2. Telegram (Nature's Mischief) (11:59)
3. For Against (10:57)

Total Time 43:30

Line-up / Musicians

- Martin Pugh / guitar, vocals
- Louis Cennamo / bass, bowed bass, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / drums

- Garth Watt-Roy - lead vocals
- Keith Relf - backing vocals, production assistance
- Jane Relf - backing vocals

Releases information

LP Brain‎/Metronome 1009, Brain ‎(1972, Germany)

CD Repertoire RR 4139-WZ (1991, Germany)
CD Akarma AK263 (2003, Italy)

Numerous LP and CD reissues

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy STEAMHAMMER Speech Music

More places to buy STEAMHAMMER music online

STEAMHAMMER Speech ratings distribution

(44 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

STEAMHAMMER Speech reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Steamhammer's last album was a posthumous release if memory serves me well asa the group had disintegrated by then. The general sound is a lot like the preceeding Mountains album , full of guitar riffs/works .

Do not be fooled by the lenght of these three tracks, nothing to do with lenghty prog epics. Actually this album has little to do with prog, IMHO! There is virtuosity present on this album as this is full of guitar histrionics.

Although this album is highly touted by collectors , IMHO, it is best to avoid it unless you are a confirmed fan of Steamhammer.

Review by stefro
2 stars Steamhammer's fourth-and-final album proves to be both their most progressive but also their weakest. Virtually instrumental, 'Speech' eschews the group's earthy blues-prog style in favour of three lengthy, drawn-out, metallic tracks that features none of the funky gusto evident on their previous three albums. The lack of vocals is a genuine surprise, as Kieran White's gruff, yearning tones were an important part of the group's make-up, but it's the total lack of inspiration or catchy melodies that is really noticeable. 'Speech' was recorded and released after original drummer Mick Bradley had died, and for the rest of the group the spark had simply gone, which would explain the going-through-the-motions feel that drenches the album. Maybe they should have stuck to their original bluesy sound and not gone for the bold new prog-rock sound, maybe they should have called it a day after the excellent 'Mountains'. Whatever your view there is no doubting that 'Speech' is a poor end for a once-great band who deserved a better swansong than this. 'Speech' is, simply put, strictly for Steamhammer completionists only. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Steamhammer released a total of four albums. The first being a sort of jazzy blues rock one. The next two, "MKII" and "Mountains" were steeped more in the jazz-rock mould, giving it all a much more progressive feel. And then they released "Speech". If you know anything about Steamhammer but haven't heard this one you are in for quite a surprise. My first Steamhammer album was "Mountains" and I was enthralled by it's warm, progressive jazz-rock thing. So, when I bought this one in my early 20's and put it on I was in for a completely different ride alltogether.

First let me tell you, I adore the cover art. It's simply amazing. Dark and brooding and with an imagery rather hard to fathom. But it fits the music perfectly and that is somewhat the whole point with album covers, don't you think?

So, on to the music. The intro to the first track, the 23 minutes long "Penumbra", is the most sinister, foreboding, scary I have ever heard. It puts the norwegian black metal bands to shame. And yet at the same time it is also one of the most intriguing and loveable intros I have ever heard. Listen to it with headphones in a dark room. There's a sunday treat, if there ever was one. When the intro grinds to a halt after 3 minutes and 20 seconds a harsh, cold and brutal guitar riff comes into being and you are served a nice slice of early hard rock that is heavy, fast and furious. It's like you hear a band falling apart in the studio, trying to kill each other with an immense barrage of energy. FIve minutes in to the piece comes a calmer section with vocals. I love this part. I l-o-v-e it! What am I listening to? Am I standing at the entrance of hell? Has doomsday arrived? Are these the final days? And then the riffing comes back. Different but with the same feeling of frustration and energetic charge. After that has passed you find you're self in a different landscape where a bluesy hard rock riff takes the center stage. Everything then heads for a climatic ending with instrumentation and a roar resembling a dying whale. Or something to that effect. I have always loved the first track. An epic? Well, I suppose so. An epic of darkness.

"Telegram", the second track, is a bluesy hard rock affair that rhythmically is askew and slightly off the wall without going totally bonkers. Also a fantastic piece, constructed in a similar fashion to "Penumbra", only half as long and not quite as intimidating. The last track "For against" gives us a somewhat organized noise with off the wall riffing and a drum solo. Not the finest piece on the album but a good one nevertheless. The drum solo tends to drag on for just a bit too long.

All in all I find that this album is, probably, the most progressive of the four Steamhammer made during a three year period. That is not to say it's their best one but it is certainly a very interesting album and extremely enjoyable. Somewhat underappreciated, scorned and misunderstood I think it deserves to be heard more and loved more. A great prog album bearing both compexity and furious energy. I only wish they had stayed together and made another one. God knows what that would have sounded like but I am positive that it would be a wonderful album, as all four albums by the band are.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Steamhammer's 4th and final album is the one fans are most divided on and it's easy to see why. Many of the riffs are still somewhat blues based but as you might guess from the track lengths, the song structures are quite different from their previous material. The album looks very promising on pape ... (read more)

Report this review (#2078117) | Posted by PsychicVacuum | Saturday, November 24, 2018 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Finally, finally after 45 years is this album is starting to be given its just due. For me it's the most underrated album of all time. I first heard it in about 1987 (I was in kindergarten when it came out) and thought, "wow." Well I am still going "wow." The reason I feel that Steamham ... (read more)

Report this review (#1817221) | Posted by steamhammeralltheway | Sunday, October 29, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Steamhammer's fourth record "Speech" was a different thing for me to review. It was released in 1972 and has a cool and artistic cover, presumably taking place somewhere in space. And it was space I got some thoughts about when I heard this form of music. I located it somewhere between blues r ... (read more)

Report this review (#976413) | Posted by DrömmarenAdrian | Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars How it is that this indescribably PHENOMENAL quintessential prog-rock album has only been reviewed by 4 other people is absolutely astonishing, especially considering that this site is taylor made for prog-aficianatos. What's even more bewildering is that 3 of these individuals who DID actuall ... (read more)

Report this review (#952512) | Posted by ralphcat | Wednesday, May 1, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It 's something different . This could be a Mick Bradley's prelude . Listening to the album, you may, easily realize, that Mick Bradley should be among the 5 best Rock drummers .The song "Penumbra" was the prototype of Armageddon 's "Buzzurd"...In fac,t Armageddon just copied "Penumbra" . Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#56552) | Posted by Happy Loss | Wednesday, November 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Hughes Chantraine is right. "Mountains" was a posthumous album, released shortly after Mick Bradley's death by leukemia. In fact "Speech" is a very poor album, with lenghty although disjointed tracks (sometimes it seems that they recorded independent pieces of music, then gathered all together ... (read more)

Report this review (#41902) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Sunday, August 7, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of STEAMHAMMER "Speech"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.