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Steelhouse Lane - 'Slaves Of The New World' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/1b/42/ba/1100_steelhouselaneslavesofthenewworld_1299975133.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 12, 2011    
 
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Originally released by the much missed MTM.

(This review also covers 'Steelhouse Lane - Metallic Blue')

The name of guitarist and producer Mike Slamer has always been synonymous with quality, from his beginnings with the UKs City Boy in the 70s, through his subsequent move to the US and work with artists like Streets, Seventh Key, Terry Brock, Chris Thompson and his own project Slamer. One of his very best recording bands was late 90s melodic rockers Steelhouse Lane (named after the street in the Midlands where he used to live), who put out two of the most well-received records of the latter part of that decade. Their two CD's have been disappearing from record shop shelves over the last few years, or to be more accurate it's the shops themselves that have been disappearing, so this re-issue of the pair in a cool digipack is perhaps well timed.

To keep things in chronological order I'll deal with disc 2 first. Originally released by the much missed MTM back in 1998, 'Metallic Blue' originally started life as an idea by the label's Magnus Soderqvist for Mike to re-record songs he'd co-written for albums by bands like House Of Lords, James Christian, Hardline, Tower City and Wall Of Silence, alongside some of the other demo tracks Mike had recorded during the 90s. With vocalist Keith Slack doing a fine job on 'Metallic Blue' and 'Can't Fight Love' from House Of Lords' 'Demons Down' album, 'Dr. Love' from Hardline's 'Double Eclipse', 'Addicted' from the Wall Of Silence debut, Tower City's 'Surrender' and 'Fire With Fire' and James Christian's 'Brighter Day' (all classic melodic rockers in my opinion!) the other five tracks were excellent too. The big power ballad 'Find My Way Home' is beautifully arranged and sung, whilst 'Still', 'Best Years Of My Life', 'Feel My Love' and 'Can't Stop' are all prime slices of quality melodic hard rock with great vocals, superb production and those inimitable Slamer riffs and solos.

With 'Metallic Blue' being one of the label's greatest successes at that point, it wasn't surprising that they wanted more of the same, so Slamer put aside some of his TV and Film work to devote the time to producing something special. Released in 1999, 'Slaves Of The New World' built on the template of the debut and added a few new ideas of it's own. The guitars, production and arrangements were bigger and it had more of a band feel with Slamer and Slack, alongside Chris Lane (guitars), Barron DeWayne (drums) and Alan Hearn (bass), pulling out all the stops to make one of the best melodic rock albums, not only of the era, but of all time.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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With greater energy than on the debut the band storm through nine brand new songs with highlights all over the shop, from the swaggering opener 'Give It All To Me' with it's big Def Leppard-like hooks and brilliant Slamer outro solo, through huge tracks like the Boston-esque 'Find What We're Looking For', the high-energy title track, the insanely catchy 'In Too Deep' and the highly melodic 'Where Are You Now?' On the other side of the coin you have the simply beautiful 'All I Believe' and the bluesy hard rock tune 'All Or Nothing' bringing more variety, as does the poppy 'Seven Seas'.

Alongside the new songs Slamer goes back a few years to his demo collection and puts on his cowboy hat for the light and shade of 'Son Of A Loaded Gun', and even further back to the second Streets album for a re-recorded 'The Nightmare Begins'. Slamer's old band also provided the Japanese bonus track, the upbeat 'If Love Should Go', this time from their debut album and included here as well. 'Slaves Of The New World' is just about as good an album of it's type as you're ever going to hear, so if you don't already own these then this double re-issue of Steelhouse Lane's entire recorded work - with excellent sleeve notes from a brand new interview with the reclusive Slamer by our own Dave Cockett - is an absolute no brainer. As the band themselves sing, "You'll Find What You're Looking For".

Phil Ashcroft

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