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Steel Mill - Green Eyed God CD (album) cover


Steel Mill


Heavy Prog

3.94 | 85 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars One of the most obscure release from England (the history of the band and whereabouts of the musicians are still unknown) and most-searched after vinyl by collectors, and one of the best beloved in ProgArchives for a famous unsolicited job application (see last paragraph of the present review). If in a lot of case, rare and expensive does not necessarily mean good or excellent, but in Steel Mill, such is the case. Released in 72 in Germany, this album got its UK release three years later, by which time the group had disbanded. This quintet is your standard quartet plus wind player and develop a heavy progressive so typical of the first years of the 70's and is a pure delight for the progheads searching for lost gems: I AM one of them. Sound-wise Steel Mill is a mix of Raw Material, some hard-riffing from Heep or Sabbath. All of the tracks are penned by wind player John Challenger and keysman and singer Dave Morris.

The heavy-riffed opener Blood Runs Deep is a rather fitting intro, as soon as the first break leads us to a sax/guitar crescendo and quick time changes. Summer Child is one of the highlights of this very even album, where no weaker track exists. Its deep and dark climate underlined by a low-timbre flute works wonder on your imagination. Hard riffs open the longer track of the first side of the wax slide, but its multipkle changes allows plenty of ambiances, some of them not far away from Black Sabbath and Atomic Rooster. The closer, Treadmill, is probably their hardest/heaviest track and the Sabbath influences are loud and clear in this song.

The second side opens on the superb 9-min title track with a haunting (and eastern-sounding) flute over a steady tom-drumming and psalm-like vocals, before the heavy guitar takes the song to a higher and harder climate. Clearly this song is the one that gives the album its weight in prog content, with its slight ethnic influences. Production-wise the album uses the fade-outs and the fade-ins a bit too systematically, but the only time this is slightly bothersome is in the middle of this great track. Turn The Page Over is yet another superb moments and it clearly invites in their next tale of paradise. Black Jewel Of The Forest is the apex of the album, with its slow flute and toms intro (already heard earlier in the album) before a tense guitar enters to modify the drumming and the ambiances switching gradually into a haunting, almost satanic mood: grandiose. The closing interlude is a fitting outro for an almost flawless album.

Steel Mill had also released two singles the following yea r, each time featuring a song from the album and a non-album B-side. Although the album tracks were edited to fit the singles format Repertoire record chose not too include these two songs as bonuses (which is just as well, since they are available in the better longer format), but they did choose to include the two non-album tracks, much to our joy. Obscurity. Obviously not recorded during the same sessions and mixed differently, the two tracks differ a bit from the rest of the album, without sticking out like a sore thumb. Get On The Line was a clear attempt at breaking the market with its basic repeated chorus and songs structures. The same can be said of Zang Will, but the second offers more to the proghead's ears because of more interplay and clear cut solos.

Be careful when looking for this album, as there are some bootlegs both in vinyl and in CD. In its digital form, this album comes with two bonus tracks coming from associated singles - which I have no idea if they are in the same line than the album per se. In any way, shape or form, this album is a real must if you love heavy prog. This album even prompted some Pakistani engineer to apply for a job in this website, and that fact alone makes it a classic album in our beloved Prog Archives;-)

Sean Trane | 5/5 |


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