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STEEL MILL

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Steel Mill biography
Formed in London, UK in 1969 - Disbanded in 1972

The history of STEEL MILL is shrouded in mystery. I can do little here but relate extracts from the liner notes from the 1994 CD re-release of their one and only album, "Green Eyed God". These were written by Mark Brennan, who documented his efforts to find out some background information on the band thus:

"I first spoke to producer John Schroder who recalled the band's name and the fact that the LP was recorded at London's De Lane Lea studios, but other than that he had no recollection of the album.

Larry Page, the legendary producer/manager who owned Penny Farthing records who released (the two singles and one album by the band) could not recall a thing about Steel Mill.

Jeff Wilkins who worked for Lovigny Marquee the production company who signed Steel Mill, also proved to have little recollection of the band or the whereabouts (of the members).

The British Musicians Union had no record of any of the members, and even the normally reliable collectors shops knew of their releases, but not their history."

The sleeve notes end with appeal for any information to be forwarded to the author at Repertiore Records!

: : : Bob McBeath, SCOTLAND : : :

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Green Eyed GodGreen Eyed God
Greeg Tree Records 1994
$17.99
$17.93 (used)
Steel MILL The Dead Sea ChroniclesSteel MILL The Dead Sea Chronicles
Mega International records 2009
$18.98
Jewels of the ForestJewels of the Forest
Rise Above Relics 2010
$59.49
$49.98 (used)
Green Eye Good by Steel MillGreen Eye Good by Steel Mill
Imports
$79.98 (used)
Dead Sea ChroniclesDead Sea Chronicles
The Orchard 2007
$100.00 (used)
Green Eye GoodGreen Eye Good
Imports 2005
$105.17
$12.95 (used)
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STEEL MILL discography


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3.90 | 75 ratings
Green Eyed God
1972

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STEEL MILL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars While prog bands that released a single album and disappeared into the ethers never to be heard from again were quite common all throughout prog's heyday of the 70s and even far beyond into the 80s, usually there exists a bit of historical context of how the bands formed, how they crafted their albums and where the various members would end up after projects imploded. STEEL MEEL on the other hand remains to this very day one of the more mysterious bands that somehow eluded the record keepers. In the pursuit of a historical analysis, many trying to paint a clearer picture have been utterly stumped. Even producer John Schroeder remembers nothing about neither the band nor the sessions that he was a part of. None of the musicians belonged to the English musicians union and even those who knew of the band during their time seemed to know nothing about their story, therefore it is a complete mystery as to how the five members came to the process of forming STEEL MILL and the recording of their sole album GREEN EYED GOD.

What is known is that the band consisted of David Morris (vocals, keyboards), Terry Williams (guitar), John Challenger (sax, woodwind), Jeff Watts (bass) and Christ Martin (drums, percussion). Much of this lack of information stems from the fact that despite hailing from the music mecca of 1970s London and having released two singles, a truncated form of the title track and "Summer's Child," GREEN EYED GOD found little support from the record company which would only issue an original release in Germany in 1972 and the album wouldn't find a proper debut in their native UK or North America until 1975, long after the band had called it quits and when i say called it quits, i don't mean that the band members called it a day and moved on to other projects. They literally fled the music business totally. All of these issues conspired to create one of rock's most enigmatic mystery bands of the era. Only Jeff Watts is known to have ventured into another project, the equally forgotten band Design.

It's somewhat understandable as to why STEEL MILL found such resistance. GREEN EYED GOD has a rather anachronistic sound for the year 1972. While the band was fairly original in how they composed their eight tracks on GREEN EYED GOD, the music itself relied on the template of late 60s heavy psych with fuzzed out guitar riffs in the vein of Iron Butterfly or Vanilla Fudge and peppered it with fluffy flute laden psychedelic folk with Celtic flavors along with touches of jazz and psychedelia. Likewise, another 60s trait is that the band lacked a charismatic vocalist that carried the music to another level however Dave Morris does a decent job in carrying his weight actually. It is known that STEEL MILL formed in 1970 and the music presented here surely must have been crafted in that same timeline as it sounds very much like its on the change of the decade years in terms of style.

Despite the rather dated sound for its release time, GREEN EYED GOD is a really good album that stitches together the various elements that make it original. Consider it an early retro album and all is good. It's the sort of album that SHOULD have been crafted in the late 60s but never was and STEEL MILL were there to add their stamp to the sounds of that era even if it meant entering the world's stage a little late to the party. The heavy psych guitar riffs erupt immediately on the opener "Blood Runs Deep" which finds rather groovy guitar and bass interactions embellished by a jazzy saxophone dominated backdrop and intermittent cooling off periods of psychedelic folk. The single "Summer's Child" starts out like a Led Zeppelin ballad except with an airy woodwind section but transmogrifies into a bass driven mid-tempo rocker that incorporates bluesy guitar soloing and vocal harmonies.

GREEN EYED GOD's greatest strength is it's diversity. Every track takes on a different characteristic. "Mijo And The Laying Of The Witch" continues sounding completely different than the previous two tracks with an intriguing mysterious atmosphere with a jazzy backdrop. The track slowly changes into a heavier rocker with hard rock guitar heft but also a healthy presence of the sultry sax soloing. The track at nearly eight minutes long is also one of the more progressive as it tackles varying stylistic shifts which alter tempo, timbres and dynamics as well as some abrupt time signature changes. The folky parts exude pastoral flute runs.

"Treadmill" starts strangely with a Hare Krishna type of a cappella group vocal chant and some bells before erupting into a more standard hard rock tune laced with guitar fuzz and bass and drum heft to back it up. The call and response of the vocals and bluesy guitar solos keep the track fiery and sounding great. The highlight of the album is surely the nine minute title track. While released as a truncated single, this full version is gorgeous and also quite progressive as it begins in a mediative ancient Celtic flute trance and cymbal action that slowly ratchets up to a heavy bluesy rocker sounding something like Bad Company only more adventurous with stylistic chord changes, ballsy soloing and excellent bass and percussive interactions. Jazzy touches also join in and Morris offers a more passionate than usual vocal performance. It's fairly ecstatic how the sax and flute alternate and the percussive drive flips from standard rock to tribal drumming at the drop of a hat. This track demonstrates STEEL MILL's strong sense of instrumental interplay as the musicians find many variations that play well together.

The piano driven "Turn The Page Over" offers yet another stylistic shift with Beatles like vocal harmonies conspiring to create utterly infectious melodic counterpoints. "Black Jewel Of The Forest" is another Pagan ritual sounding track with heavy flute action, tribal drumming and eerie background vocals. Somewhat like Comus but not as frantic. The album ends with the unusual fifty second instrumental "Har Fleur" yet again sounding different than what came before. It's most likely you will not own an original copy as the first vinyl editions are extremely rare and have been known to be some of the most expensive original prog vinyl albums ever to exchange hands in which case if you do indeed own GREEN EYED GOD then you will be treated to the two bonus tracks "Get On The Line" and "Zang Will" which are every bit as good yet different from the original eight tracks but still fit in so well. STEEL MILL may have only crafted a handful of tracks but did an outstanding job in the process.

Despite the album bombing big time the first time around and shrouding the band in mystery for decades, the popularity of GREEN EYED GOD has only grown exponentially since. The album has become quite the mandatory staple of progressive rock collectors who like a hard rock bite with their psychedelic folk with jazzy touches which is mostly due to the strong songwriting that provides intricate and addictive melodies but most of all it's how the band crafted these compositions with a keen sense of adding subtle elements that despite using the templates of the 60s, implement the more sophisticated touches of the progressive rock heyday. The result is an album that sounds like it exists in two timelines. True that Dave Morris doesn't provide the most stellar vocal performances but his limited range keeps the album simmering in a typical hard rock band fashion while the nuances of the instrumental interplay make this an more intriguing progressive listen. This was a grower. It may not blow you away at first but if you let it sink in for a few spins, its unleashes its magic in doses, at least it did for me.

Just a quick note: apparently some of the band's secrets have been revealed on the 2010 "Jewels Of The Forest (Green Eyed God Plus)." Until i acquire that copy, they are still a mystery :)

 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

3 stars Reading some rather positive reviews of this album left me somewhat puzzled. I am old enough and with a healthy interest in music, yet I could not recall having heard of this band. I left no stone unturned till I was able to hear this piece. Hmmm, maybe not for the first time after all, but perhaps it just didn't resonate with me back then - and still doesn't.

There is no doubt that this is well-intended work, albeit rather amateurish, perhaps even naive by what sounds like a bunch of hippies. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not about to mock hippies here as I consider myself as a die-hard specimen of those. But this release leaves me rather underwhelmed. The music is mediocre - if at all - lacking any grunt and would suit a small-town Country Fair more than a record contract. Considering that 1972 saw the release of fantastic works, in comparison, this just doesn't stack up and should have remained in the vaults.

Barely scraping in at 3 and that with a healthy dose of goodwill.

 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Cult British Prog/Psych outfit, formed in late-60's in the South London neighborhood of Wadsworth by keyboardist/singer Dave Morris and sax player John Challenger (formerly of The Garret Singers) with three more members coming from an act named Roadrunners, bassist Derek Chandler, guitarist Terry Williams and drummer Colin Short.After a few promising demos Short was replaced by Rumplestiltskin's Rupert Bear for a brief time, before Chris Martin was acquired permanently.A single followed in 1971 on the Penny Farthing label, which had an unexpected success, and Steel Mill entered the De Lane Lea Studios in London in December 71' to record their debut with a slightly different line-up, bassist Jeff Watts had replaced Derek Chandler.The team on Penny Farthing apparently was not very excited with the album, as a result Steel Mill's ''Green eyed God'' was oroginally released only in Germany in 1972.

Steel Mill sounded like a less progressive and risky GNIDROLOG and VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR, having strong psychedelic and Jazz/Blues influences, but eventually offering an amalgam of sounds quite different from the typical bands of the time.With dark vocals and instrumental sections, they recalled also compatriots MARSUPILAMI, comfortably evolving from Heavy/Psychedelic Rock passages to jazzy twists with the sax in evidence and even delivering some great breaks and complex themes, especially in the longer tracks.Even if some of the ideas seem a bit forced or disjointed, the album is characterized by numerous great guitar moves and solid drumming, flavored by Challenger's diverse plays on sax and flutes, having evident Folk, Jazz and Blues vibes.The mood is angry, sinister and atmospheric akin to a more guitar-based VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR with an intelligent mix of 60's and proggy tunes, but even if Morris was among the band's leaders, his performance on keyboards is just very sterile and almost ''invisible''.Another aspect Steel Mill appear to have borrowed from Jazz are the obvious, loose executions in series of pieces, on the other hand the shorter ones come in a more standard Heavy/Blues Rock vein with Terry Williams being the absolute hero with his electrified guitar work.

A second single was issued the same year, but its dissapointing sales led Penny Farthing to abandon any plans on Steel Mill.Williams and Watts left the band and they were replaced by Alan Plaice and Danny Easterbrook respectively.However, despite some decent supporting performances next to Rory Gallagher's Taste, T. Rex, and David Bowie, Steel Mill finally disbanded in August 72'.From the band's members, Watts had the most respectable career playing for Psych/Jazz Rockers The Running Man, Hard Rock band Mouse and the Pop Rock combo Design.

Several reissues appear in the market, most of them with bonus material, and surprisingly Penny Farthing decided to reissue the original press in 1975 for the UK market.Among the good acts of the time, Steel Mill played cool Psych/Prog with a jazzy attitude and extended instrumental ideas.Recommended.

 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Reminiscent of a collaboration between Vanilla Fudge, early Deep Purple, and Rare Bird, Steel Mill's sole album is a bluesy take on the heaviest of heavy psych and proto-prog. John Challenger's woodwind instruments add a wild card to the proceedings which sets the band apart from their influences, whilst guitarist Terry Williams lays down monster riffs which establish an oppressive and foreboding atmosphere for the proceedings. Recently rereleased with an impressive range of bonus tracks (under the confusing retitle of Jewels of the Forest), Green Eyed God represents the apocalyptic culmination of the bluesier side of heavy psych and proto-prog and doesn't deserve the obscurity it's languished in.
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

BUY
Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by Ffogorp the Confused

4 stars While trawling through my local independent record store (yes, I'm sensitive enough about what people think of my music buying habits that I'll put that!), I heard some markedly ominous music emanating from the store's stereo. I thought it sounded vaguely Black Widow-esque, and feeling rather proud of myself I checked with the bloke at the desk that I'd got the right band. Obviously I hadn't, but to make up for my mild shame in mistaking the band I decided to pick up a copy of the album, recently re-released on the Rise Above level with a couple of extra tracks and some extensive liner notes. What I experienced as I put the CD on was quite extraordinary.....

The particuarly ominous track I heard on the store stereo turned out to be 'Black Jewel of The Forest', a brooding track with a nice flute/drum build up before a particuarly mean sounding riff continues a doomy theme throughout the song. Eventually the song descends into a heavy bluesy chaos which is executed very well. Generally this seems to be the bands forte, delving into doomy, sometimes quite heavy riffs with woodwind hints ranging from flutes to saxophones and solid vocal work.

The storming opener 'Blood Runs Deep' is one of the best examples of the heavier side of the band; with a fast Uriah Heep esque bluesy riff combined with some neat saxophone work (making them fairly unique in the world of heavy metal!) and some interesting breaks courtesy of lighter guitar and a saxophone solo. 'Summers Child' is a slightly more odd sounding number, however the pulsing bass rhythm and the duel flute/guitar work mean the song is pulled off pretty effectively.

The third track however is easily the best and most unique on the album, 'Mijo And The Laying Of The Witch' boasts some intriguing mixtures of vaguely Middle-Eastern sounding guitar work and gentle saxophone to start with followed by a multitude of heavier sections without getting repetitive. 'Treadmill' is also a very capable song, even if it's one of the less original on the album. However, the band proves that it can pull off a trudging, slow paced and heavy hitting metal song very well with this in addition to the more progressive stuff.

The title track and the following 'Turn The Page Over' are slightly weaker, but both capable efforts. The title track does seem slightly like a deliberate attempt to do 'an epic' which isn't pulled off completely even if there's many enjoyable moments, while 'Turn The Page Over' sounds like a slightly Atomic Rooster esque piano ballad but not to quite the same standard. As previously mentioned, the next track, 'Black Jewel Of The Forest' is very strong, while the finishing 'Har Fleur' is an odd, if strangely effective way to finish the album.

The bonus tracks are also a treat on this release, of particular note is the single 'Get On The Line' which is very catchy while still sounding interesting enough to be an obvious 'prog single.' In all then, this Rise Above re-release was a highly worthwhile purchase, chocking in cheaper than the vinyl rarity and with a nice dew bonus tracks to boot as well as some historically detailed liner notes.

 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

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Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by progshachar

5 stars It's an excellent heavy prog obscure band. Sounds only like themselves. A little like Raw material and skin alley Just got the new premastered album - Jewels of the forest 100% official reissue of Green eyed god + 9 bonus tracks - 2 B-sides + shorter version of Green eyes god + 5 unreleased staff that was found - its actually an early unreleased 5 songs that were recorded before green eyes, And the finale a new song recorded in 2010! a great new song All in all mesmerizing staff a lot of flute and sax and haunting voices. It's a rollercoaster from beginning to end. I love it!
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

BUY
Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by Kord

4 stars I looked for this album for 2 years when finally I bought it and enjoyed it a lot. Take Jethro Tull, Black Widow and Cream, mingle them all and you will obtain Steel Mill. An obsure band, if you think that we don't know anything about them, the flute parts were recorded in the studios toilet! Apart from these particulars the album is great, I suggest 2 songs: the title track (very good), and Summers child. Quite hard to be found but it worths the difficulty.
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

BUY
Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by bristolstc

3 stars I made the mistake of spending 250 US dollars on this album, and could hardly get that much in trade for it when after about a week this became less interesting and more and more irritating. It is hard to say exactly what doesn't work here. The playing by all five band members is inspired and professional, sometimes pedestrian and if you're lucky on a few tracks more imaginative. The problem is lack of imagination and too many plodding endless heavy riffs that sound like a very poor copy of Black Sabbath. The blues influence in the band's heavy progressive rock sound is combined with equal jazz overtones to make for as well as Sabbath a not even close Raw Material. One of the worst problems with this album is how the songs deal with such morbid and disturbing subject matter, namely almost every song here is about death and usually violent death. They sound sick, pretentious, and uninteresting after the initial impression they make in their extremely heavy rock sound wears off. If you want to hear this album then buy a CD or LP reissue. I would say if one person stands out as somebody who could have made the group better it is a fine guitar player who shows much promise. If one band member can be criticized for making this album not work it would be their horrible vocalist. His voice is weak, emotionless, totally pedestrian, and sounds like he has no idea what he is doing. His pseudo Ian Anderson bluesy voice is not strong enough to carry the material, so he opts for screaming fits. Some people really seem to enjoy this album and it isn't awful, just not outstanding. You're better off buying a Jethro Tull album or spending a lot of money on something with a bit more originality then what is demonstrated here.
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

BUY
Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by Carl floyd fan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The mystery that surrounds the band adds to the appeal of this album, I must admit. But even without the mystique, the music still manages to stand alone, and quite well I might add. I've never liked having art (rock) as a sub genre of music, as I've stated before. music is a sub caterogry of art! So I view this as more of a hardrock/fusion album. The fusion influences are not to heavy, there are some focus/tullesque flute and subtle sax here and there. If you can find this album and want to pay lotf of money and/or an arm or leg, by all means, its a good album. But it is insanely rare so I would suggest you d/l it. 4.25 stars.
 Green Eyed God by STEEL MILL album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.90 | 75 ratings

BUY
Green Eyed God
Steel Mill Heavy Prog

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Edited 09/26/05!

I don't remember exactly when I listened to this record the very first time, must be something like 25 years ago. But I remember well that I loved it very much right from the beginning. Now after all these years I rediscovered this real gem in progressive blues rock created by five brilliant musicians about whom there's actually nothing known apart of their names. The first song already is such a great amazing bluesrocker, swampy, bluesy and intricate at the same time. All the songs on this album are just awesome, much in the vein of CREAM or early BLACK SABBATH combined with great sax and flute play. On the CD release there are two bonus tracks which are very much worthwhile as well. I can just HIGHLY RECOMMEND this record to anyone who loves early progressive blues rock. An absolute unique album and excellent addition to any prog collection! (4,5 stars in real!)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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