Steve Blower is a singer, songwriter, author, and guitarist from the UK, best known as the lead singer and guitarist for British heavy metallers (currently on hiatus) Hamerex. Aiming to carve out a successful solo career, Steve released his debut album ‘Back In Hell‘ in 2019, with Steve performing every instrument. Steve’s sophomore album ‘The Prophecy’ was announced early in 2020, and was preceded by ‘Alive In Isolation’ – an experimental “live” album. With the world in the grip of a deadly pandemic, and restrictions in place putting a hold on musicians performing live, Steve took his music to fans via Youtube and live streaming, performing songs from his debut album, and also featuring some classic Hamerex songs. ‘Alive In Isolation’ is available from Steve’s Bandcamp site.
With his second album, Steve continues to etch his name in heavy metal history with eight songs of pure, and classic, British sounding metal – and why wouldn’t it sound British? Steve is British, and proud, flying the flag for Britain very high. ‘The Prophecy’ shows progression from ‘Back In Hell’, a more varied collection of heavy metal, from the galloping to the strolling, including some really menacing moments along the way. Steve again performs all instruments, with ‘The Prophecy’ exploding into life with the fast paced and traditional “foot on the monitor” gallop of ‘The Screaming Eye’. And just like legendary metallers Iron Maiden who are famous for their up tempo and immediate album openers, ‘The Screaming Eye’ is a head turner, an ear pricker upper, and a great way to launch an album. ‘Bonded By Blood’ – and no it’s not a cover of the Exodus classic – is a more mid tempo, much heavier song than ‘The Screaming Eye’, and features a classic sounding NWOBHM riff. The buzzing style guitars associated with one of metals biggest evolutions, is high in the mix, slapping you hard in the face. For fans of NWOBHM, ‘Bonded By Blood’ is gonna be right up your street.
The classic NWOBHM riffing continues apace with the galloping ‘Black Dog’, causing heads to nod hard and raise fists high in the air. Steve is portraying the classic sound of British heavy metal, showcasing everything that is great with this style. The album is only three songs in, and everything is crisp and clear, even the chant style chorus of ‘Black Dog’ is gonna cause concert goers to wholeheartedly join in. The menacing style of heavy metal rises to the surface, as a ‘Hells Bells’/’For Whom The Bell Tolls’ chiming church bell signals the start of ‘And The Bell Tolls’. A real doom and gloom feel takes over, as the riffage sends a shiver down the spine, and the longer, slower head banging style takes over, with bodies moving back and forth in (what appears to be) slow motion. Galloping heavy metal returns in full flight, with the fast paced and head bangingly addictive ‘Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’. Reminiscent of the early eighties heavy metal sound, ‘Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse’ is classic “foot on the monitor” heavy metal for all the traditionalists to salivate over.
With its eerie opening sending a chill through your bones, ‘Angel’ has a heavy, doomy, seventies style Black Sabbath feel about it, albeit the chorus is a much happier and jollier affair. It’s great to hear that Steve has not wandered off these shores for his musical direction for ‘The Prophecy’, keeping close to home for inspiration and influence – even the albums title is the name of an Iron Maiden song! Or maybe that’s just a coincidence! Either way, this is British heavy metal to be proud of. And with a title such as ‘Lucifer Rising (Hell Awakens)’ – you’d probably expect a very heavy, very doom laden, possibly dreary and melancholy filled song… Well, you’d only be partially right. It is heavy, it is doom laden, but no way is it dreary and melancholic. It is a blend of the Black Sabbath doom and the Iron Maiden gallop – a cracking mix that works really well. And to the final song, the eight minutes plus offering ‘The End’, opening with a classic Iron Maiden (and their longer songs) intro, building the tension and atmosphere over a couple of minutes. As ‘The End’ comes to life proper, it takes on a mid tempo swagger, rocking just as heavy as anything else on the album. Changes of pace, up and down energy levels, and many different moods – ‘The End’ is highly varied and shows off everything Steve has in his armoury.
Overall, a heavy hitting and thoroughly enjoyable journey of traditional metal, infectious and addictive, and a great addition to the legacy of British heavy metal.
Review By Iron Mathew Collins