Zone of Alienation

01. 2097 A.D.
02. Solar Wind Riders
03. Full Speed Ahead!
04. Breathless
05. Tokkotai (Wind of Fury)
06. Zone of Alienation
07. The Running Man
08. They Came From The Skies
09. Lunacy Rising

Oscar Astedt– Drums
Alex Vega– Guitar
Robby Rockbag– Guitar
Riley – Vocals
Nic Savage– Bass

Lord of the Wasteland (2010)


Producer Rikard Löfgren
Mixed and mastered by Rikard Löfgren
Recorded by Rikard Löfgren & Rickard Engborg in August 2011
Artwork by Dimitar Nikolov

Released 6/1-2012 or 27/1-2012
Reviewed 6/1-2012


Swedish band Steelwing did not impress me that much with their debut Lord of the Wasteland in 2010, I said it was too much like anything else and that the band lacked own ideas but I did also point out that somewhere along the line in a few years time they might possibly find more of an own voice. So the question now a little less than two years since the debut is if the band already have managed this or if at least we can find things that points towards such a development. One thing that is for certain is that they have taken their music into space and thanks to that they have also gotten a very good looking album cover which of course always is something to praise. The question is however not if they have managed to make their albums look better or if they have decided to go conceptual, it is if they have managed to find an own voice.

I think that at first glance it is much alike the debut album, the sound is similar and the overall style is the same kind of heavy/power metal with melodic riffing and falsetto vocals and catchy choruses much like the genre in general. No doubt you can hear what the band is listening to, it is sometimes very obvious at this album just like the debut. This time however, I do think that they have managed to speak at least a little with an own voice as the songs don’t feel carbon copied from Iron Maiden, Helloween, Hammerfall and so on. It is a bit more evolved and I would also say spoken a bit with an own voice but that said it still sounds very much like typical heavy/power metal so in the stylistic they are not breaking new ground but you can sound your own and stand out even if you do not. This album has nine tracks and it plays for little over 40 minutes and what we hear over those minutes is well polished and a modernly produced musical creation.

Definitely an improvement from the debut, I could hear that right away as it didn’t sound as cloned as the earlier songs and also that the song had much more flow and better melodies I thought. Sure you can still hear the influences but that is a thing that doesn’t have to be a negative and it unavoidable to “borrow” music from others as most have already been done, especially in a genre like this. The playing time is also very good being just over 40 minutes makes it feel less repetitive than it would have had it been longer, the songs also feel more coherent than they did on the debut album which I think felt a touch fragmented and this may possibly be due to the album being conceptual in nature. I would definitely say that Zone of Alienation is a good album and more of a show of the band that is Steelwing than the debut was.

But before you take out things in advance, there are negatives as well. For starters the album still does feel like many other bands out there, it sure is well made but it is typical heavy/power metal with the guitar melodies and the falsetto vocals and choired choruses which makes it a less obvious choice to select for play than it would have been had they done something more different in nature. Nothing negative about being true to a particular line of music but if you are, you have to do something very special if your albums should be the one to be played since we always tend only to play the really good albums, don’t we? And Steelwing does not really have that special feel to them that good albums have, it is a clear improvement an perhaps as the label said a step in their ascending towards the top of the genre, they have found something of themselves to put in the music and the songs feel less like carbon copies and it is miles ahead of the debut album. I would not turn it of in case this album was played but I am not sure I would ever elect to play it myself which is why I raise the band’s rating with one step seen from the debut and not more.

So, Steelwing improves and to answer my own question from the first paragraph I can say that there are things that points in the direction of that kind of development, they are not there quite yet but they are on their way and with this kind of improvement album to album I am sure the rating will step another step upwards with the next album.


Label: NoiseArtRecords
Three similar bands: Hammerfall/Helloween/Iron Maiden
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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