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Steel Mill - Green Eyed God CD (album) cover


Steel Mill


Heavy Prog

3.94 | 85 ratings

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Psychedelic Paul
5 stars STEEL MILL were forged in the foundry in the industrial heart of London way back in 1969. The five-piece band recorded their one and only album "Green-Eyed God" with a sense of iron will and determination and the album first emerged from the steel works in 1972. Unfortunately, the album failed to set the music world alight in a blaze of fire and steel and the band quickly melted away into the suburbs of London just as suddenly as they'd appeared. And so, without further ado, let's have a listen to the eight heavy metal songs that Steel Mill hammered out on the anvil during their brief moment in the spotlight.

It's not quite heavy metal thunder and lightning with the opening number "Blood Runs Deep", but it's not far off. This is a storming Jazz-Rock song with a heart of iron, featuring a pounding and pulsating rhythm section and with a sassy saxophonist rampaging throughout in a blaze of pulverizing high-decibel fire and steel. The band Steel Mill have forged a powerful opening to "Green-Eyed God" which is sure to leave the Prog Gods green-eyed with envy. Although this record might play on the turntable at the rather sedate speed of 33 and a third - just like any other L.P. - there's enough latent power contained within the groove to send it spinning right off the turntable at 99 R.P.M.! As the much-missed D.J. legend Alan 'Fluff' Freeman would say, "Alright? Not 'arff!!" If "Blood Runs Deep" was a heavy dose of solid steel, then the second song "Summer's Child" is more like a lightweight aluminium siding. It's a beautiful ballad floating wistfully along on a delicate gentle breeze of woodwind and soothing electric guitar, which also features some gorgeous heavenly harmonies from the ethereal choir. The heartfelt lyrics from the impassioned singer deserve a brief mention too:- "Summer's child, Smiles and feeds me, Autumn loves try to please me, Older now, in your silence, Better day of less violence, Winter's child, says she needs me." ..... This is melancholy prog at its absolute best! We're off to meet "Majo and the Laying of the Witch" for our third encounter. This song Rocks! It's an 8-minute-long monster mash featuring a pounding and percussive sonic blast of Psychedelic Rock with wild vocals and a simply sensational saxophone solo adding to the raw energy of this storming rocker. This spooky song resembles that other supernatural Halloween favourite "Season of the Witch", only "Majo and the Laying of the Witch" is injected with a huge boost of extra adrenalin and frenetic energy. We're on the "Treadmill" for our fourth song, which opens as a typical prison chain-gang chant in the style of "We're working on the chain gang, Huh!" You get the picture. We don't stay on the "Treadmill" for long though as we're off on another wild ride aboard the crazy train for a psychedelic Jazz-Rock excursion, which resembles early Van der Graaf Generator in places, only without the over-wrought vocals of Peter Hammill.

We're off to meet the jolly green giant now for the title track "Green-Eyed God", which opens as a pastoral woodwind piece, sounding a bit like an Indian peace pipe. This song definitely has an eastern mystical air to it, at least to begin with, although that first impression is soon shattered by a very western outburst of heavy electric guitar riffing in powerful combination with a storming saxophonic solo and a solid punching rhythm section, which is then followed by a brief return to the Indian pipes of peace for the tranquil conclusion. The storming middle section is a chunk of solid iron ore and the song as a whole is a steel-eyed Rock Monster! "Green-Eyed God" represents an outstanding album highlight which is about as close to heavy metal as you can get without actually BEING Heavy Metal. It's time to "Turn the Page Over" now for our sixth song. It's a fairly laid- back number with a catchy melody, featuring some gorgeous guitar soloing and lovely harmonies to match. It's the most commercially appealing song on the album which is more of a good all-round Pop song than some of the earlier storming hard rockers on the album, and that's all for the better too, where variety is the spice that makes for a great album. After all, too much heavy metal thunder and lightning in one sitting can be like a sonic assault on the tender eardrums, but then again, the thought of unleashing a non-stop Sonic Attack never stopped Hawkwind in their tracks. In a solid steel album full of highlights, the seventh song "Black Jewel of the Forest" is a diamond gem. This primal and unearthly song is a real witches brew, featuring tribal drums, a pastoral flute and hauntingly atmospheric vocals throughout. The overall impression is of some sinister witches coven meeting somewhere deep in the dark woods, and so, in the immortal words of Sergeant Phil Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) of Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there", because you just never know what might be lurking deep in the darkest recesses of the forest at midnight during a full moon on the night of Halloween. The album closes beautifully now with the charming "Har Fleur", a lovely, short and sweet instrumental woodwind piece which sounds as pretty as a French flower!

Steel Mill have produced a stainless steel rust-proof album of gleaming chrome with "Green-Eyed God". This rare solid state album of bright shining steel will be like a nugget of gold to prog collectors as it truly is a one-off album. It's really stood the test of time too at nearly half a century old and there's not a speck of rust to be seen anywhere!

Psychedelic Paul | 5/5 |


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