Cage – Supremacy Of Steel
Supremacy Of Steel
That’s all I can really say after experiencing the latest release from San Diego’s Cage. Imagine Judas Priest commissioning Joey DeMaio and Jon Schaffer to write Painkiller II, to be performed by a reunited Jag Panzer. This is American power metal so over-the-top that it has to pole vault to get there (and yes, I bought this album on a blind purchase just because of the wicked badass album cover!).
The opener, “Bloodsteel,” starts off by immediately introducing you to Sean “The Hell Destroyer” Peck (everyone in the band has a ridiculously Lost Horizon-esque nickname in the liner notes, so no, this isn’t one of my Joacim “¿Donde Está Mis Cojones?” Cans insults) and his insane screams. After being beaten half to death by “I AM A WRECKING BALL!” (really makes James Hetfield claiming to be the table seem like a complete wuss, huh?) and having every bit of enjoyment I have of my guilty pleasures temporarily wiped from existance, I thought, “How can this get more metal?”
How about songs about werewolves, gladiators, zombies, war, demons, hellspawn, and Victor Von freakin’ Doom? The lyrics are generally laughable B-movie cheese, but are quite entertaining in a “give your brain the night off” kind of way. “Metal Empire” is the most Manowar-sounding lyric, with enough true metal mentioned to save the manufacturing industry millions. I’m skipping around here, since I have a really hard time trying to digest this album in one sitting. It’s like being at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving, and even though you’ve eaten enough food to avert a famine in a small country, she keeps offering you pie and rolls, and despite you no longer being able to walk under your own power, you give in to her “But you’re too skinny!” bit and start to pant “No more!”
The only break in the intensity is the awful “Braindead Woman” and the really bad intro narrations of “Doctor Doom” and “The Monitor” (the former is actually a great song…the intro is just so horrible!). Otherwise, it’s Painkiller with balls big enough to make it have to go up a pants size. Blasting double bass, furious riffing, blazing solos…there’s no reason I shouldn’t love this, but it’s almost like the “true metal” edition of DragonForce. The good songs kind of stand apart and the rest just melts together in a mass of screaming souls and molten riffs.
“Bloodsteel,” “Doctor Doom,” and “Anneliese Michel” (the last being an awesome King Diamond…tribute) are the highlights of the album, and “War Of The Undead” and “The Beast Of Bray Road” are solid slabs of metal that wouldn’t be out of place on a good Manowar album. The rest tends to fall into “too cliché for its own good” to “my life would be better had I not heard this” (in particular, the aforementioned “Braindead Woman” and the bonus track “Blood, White, And Blue”, which would convince Jon Schaffer that it goes beyond the acceptable limit of patriotism and cheese in metal).
The production team seems to have forgotten to hire someone who knows how to run a mixing board, as the guitars are buried in the mix (especially the leads) and the drums tend to drown out the vocals at times. The sound quality of the individual instruments is crisp, don’t get me wrong; the relative levels need some serious leveling.
So, if you’re looking for some badass, over-the-top, all-American cheddar, this is your album. The good songs are really worth checking out, but this album does need to come with a Surgeon-General’s warning for people with heart conditions or lactose intolerance, and that the lower-quality songs may also be hazardous to your mental well-being. However, it needs to be repeated that
I AM THE WRECKING BALL!!!
Kylie’s rating: 3.5 out of 5