Label: BoyzTymeRecords 2020
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Sergeant Steel? The Austrian sextet version of Judge Dredd? Hard Rock has a price... the price is freedom? There are no police, no trails, no juries, only Sergeant Steel? Mutants and Aliens prowling the streets? Ehem. I need to stop the film themed typing (see Alien review elsewhere) and let's have a look at the actual songs. "Fight Fire With Fire"? Nope. It's neither Metallica nor Kansas. The melody might just re-call as well as re-dial the long gone eighties soundtrack and it's pretty catchy. However, the production leave much to ask for and vocalist Vanderkill doesn't sound his best on this particular track. According to the band, "We are living in times of constant escalation. We lose ourselves in social media, although countless people feel more lonely and misunderstood than ever before. News are full of enraged protesters, authoritarian political leaders and religious extremists. Sergeant Steel are very concerned about those circumstances, and this title is our statement! Blimey. Perhaps it's Judge Dredd after all??
Instant justice dispensed without mercy? Well... it's Truck Tales? Main songwriter/lyricist Jack Power explains the album title: "Truck driver clichés have always fascinated us. Freedom "on the road", modern street cowboys, and, last but not least, the frivolous atmosphere among good buddies on highway picnic areas – is what we, as rock musicians, do identify ourselves very strongly". Most parts of the record were mixed and completed once again by Michael Wagener (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row, etc.) in Nashville, Tennessee, except the opening "Fight Fire With Fire" and track #4 "Brotherhood" (done by the band themselves), it's hardly the sound of the major acts of the past.
The songs may lack the hi-tech gloss and glamour of the eighties US acts and it's a wee bit too rough around the edges. Tracks such as "Backstreet Lover" and "Dance Into The Light" display the funky honky-tonk styled rock in the vein of Road Ratt, It's Alive, Aerosmith. "Voodoo Queen", the hard hitting sleaze and the semi-ballad of "The Time Will Come" is pure pomp and melodic hardrock 'ala Axxis meet ROKO. The keyboard sound is definitely true to the eighties casio and the closing number of "Nightmare", Sergeant Steel's attempt at catchy Alice Cooper/Des Child rock 'ala Trash. Unfortunately, you also have dodgy numbers such as "Body Language", "Pain In My A**", "Hunter", etc. Some of this style of music can be wicked when it's got the right kind of groove, but I'm afraid to say that this is overall too varied for its own good. But hey, you might enjoy the funky honky-tonk vs. pure melodic hardrock? Final Verdict: Duck Tales will make you Quack! Truck Tales will make you Mack? (it's a truck -Mack). Worthy of your attention! sergeant-steel.com