Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Review: Blackslash – No Steel No Future

Label: Iron Shield Records

Date: March 11th, 2022

There is nothing better than classic heavy metal!

Donaueschingen, Baden-Württemberg based band Blackslash know that very well, because in past 15 years they delivered three the finest heavy metal albums. The band was formed in 2007, and besides three albums (“Separate but Equal”, “Sinister Lightning” and “Lightning Strikes Again”) they have released two EPs (“Blackslash”, “Stellar Master” and “Gladiators of Rock / The Power”).

Blackslash “No Steel No Future” is the band’s 4th album that contains 10 songs. It includes the two singles from 2021: “Gladiators of Rock” and “The Power”.

The first impression after I listened to the album is: Blackslash never disappoints! They are always surprising. The band progresses album by album, and so far “No Steel No Future” is the best release. If you ask me what this band has so special and different it is the vocals. Clemens Haas is the charismatic owner of unique vocal chords. Together with his brother Christian (guitars) and band mates Daniel Hölderle (guitars), Alec Trojan (bass) and David Hofmeier (drums), this formation from the Black Forest has everything that is needed from a heavy metal band. They have passion and dedication, memorable and catchy melodies, catchy choruses; carefully and intelligently picked songs and albums titles… They cover a wide range of lyrical topics within the genre. Using magical words (kings, queens, stallions, demons, fire, steel…) they absolutely fit in all features of classical heavy metal.

“Queen of the Night” opens the album pretty much shyly, but after 17 seconds, the band accelerates and unleashes the power. Instantly I recall one band I could compare Blackslash with: Visigoth. Both bands have a similar energy and creative formula. The next song “Midnight Fire” additionally raises the pulse and from this point the album just flows and cries out for another spin. The song is followed by the video. Galloping rhythm, great guitar parts and once again specific vocals emphasizes the essence of heavy metal.

“The Power” has a great melody, the vocal is perfectly depicting sadness, and the chorus is infectious and memorable. One of my favorites. “Under The Spell” continues in the same mid tempo pace and here at some vocal parts you can recognize Dave Mustaine influences. The title song accelerates again, the drum section along with guitars simply rules. If you haven’t head banged yet, now you will!

It’s “Hammertime”! Not just that drums are nailing, but guitar work will blow your mind here. Of course, the chorus is the holder of the song, once more memorable and so catchy with a clear message. Guitar solo is in the section no comment! This is the perfect song for the live set.

The next song “Gladiators Of Rock” is let’s say double homage to the pupils’ band “Gladiators Of Rock” of Karl-Wacker-School Donaueschingen for mentally and physically handicapped children and heroes of metal and rock (Dio, Freddie Mercury, Lemmy, Phil Lynott…). This song easily can be a serious candidate for a metal anthem.

Bottle falling on the floor is the perfect intro for the “One for the Road”. The song itself is about life on the road, while the video specifically follows the band’s trip to Spain and back. For some reason I have always liked the songs whose lyrics are inspired by touring (for example: Journey -“Faithfully”, Motörhead – “(We Are) The Road Crew”, Saxon – “Roadies’ Song”…).

“Bombers” covers war thematic and it is as its name suggests dedicated to military combat aircraft. In the end, “Demons of Life” accelerates for the last time, raises the pulse and closes chapter number four of Blackslash’s discography. 

In short lines: album obeys with catchy melodies, killer hooks, great guitar work, and incredible power to express feelings with their musical and vocal abilities…

Listening to bands like Blackslash or Existance I am not afraid that old school metal sound has the future.