03 June 2010

DOWNLOAD: Steel Nation - Soul Swallower

"We came to wreck everything, and ruin your life. God sent us." That quote, a sample from the 1992 film about Russell Crowe as a skinhead, is not only how this album starts, but it's also the lead to too many reviews of this album. Despite the lack of originality, I had to use it, too - not because it's a good quote or because it's even the introduction to Steel Nation's 2007 debut Soul Swallower. It has more to do the fact that Pittsburgh-area tattooist Josh Mason recently muttered the line repeatedly in the recent presence of Steel Nation drummer Ethan Raese as Raese bitched about having to listen to Texas Is the Reason.

Though Steel Nation is a hardcore-metal band based in Pittsburgh, Raese is a native of Morgantown and has played in West Virginia bands such as The Warriors, Better Off Dead and A Toast to the Winners. He is a tough dude with a body builder's physique covered in tattoos. He doesn't listen to any "pussy shit" like Texas Is the Reason or Jimmy Eat World. Raese listens to bands that sound like his own - Ringworm, Integrity, Biohazard and Strife to name a few. Steel Nation is heavy and fast-paced with plenty of double bass and breakdowns - appropriate for circle pits and mesh short-clad kung-fu styled mosh. On top of that, screamy vocals of pessimistic lyrics from band members who probably don't have much to be pessimistic about crank out songs with titles like "Hate of the World" and "Deliverance of the Devil." (I, too, see the irony in contemporary hardcore, but we still love it!) Steel Nation has since parted ways with the singer on this album and with strings players sharing vocal duties have taken an improved direction with its sound to be more metal than hardcore, but this is where it started.

Artist: Steel Nation.
Album: Soul Swallower.
Year: 2007.
For fans of: Ringworm, Integrity, Strife.

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