Artist:  Steele
   Title: Tricks Up My Sleeve
   Label: Z Records
 

In 1996 we saw the release of Steele’s self titled release in Japan.  Like many bands and albums released in the late nineties there has been a recent resurgence of interest in lost of forgotten gems and now in 2011 repackaged as 'Tricks Up My Sleeve' and with four bonus tracks, we see Steele return to the fold.

This is a pure Hard Rock gold with Jeff “Steele” Zugale leading the way on vocals and guitars, joined by Steve Witschel on bass and Dave Lewitt on drums, with guest appearances by Ted Poley and Joe Flamingo on backing vocals.  We also see Hira Hamma drumming and Irene Wahlman on bass on the latter half of the album.

Like I said before this is a Hard Rock gem that gets off to a great start with ‘Tricks Up My Sleeve’, an all guns blazing rocker that really gets the old Hard Rock juices flowing.  Big licks from Zugale and a massive rhythm section really get this one underway before Zugale unleashes a true powerhouse vocal to cap off this great ballsy opener.

The great Hard Rockin’ continues with the thumping ‘Love Aint Gonna Change Me’, another balls to the wall rocker that has more groove than you can shake a stick at.  It's hard to believe these songs are some fifteen years old because they sound fresh and are right up there with what is coming out of the Hard Rock scene right now.

The tempo but not the quality is brought down a touch with the excellent ‘700 Miles’ this one starts of with a little bluesy semi-acoustic guitar before exploding with a bang of chunky bass lines and fiery licks, the tempo is picked up big time with the fantastic ‘Flirtin’ With Fame’ again Zugale unleashes another mighty riff fest.

The world of Hard Rock has is fair share of fine ballads over the year and this album has a corker in ‘Stay’ before bringing things back up to speed again with ‘Live Forever’ another top notch rocker that again has stood the test of time.

One of many favourite tracks of the album is the lick ridden ‘I’ll Never Cry’, this is what really floats my boat, big licks, a thumping bass line and a powerhouse drum beat.  Great rock was made on just this and this really is great rock.

After the thumping hard rockin' last track it's time to bring the tempo down just a touch with the Melodic Rock vibe of ‘Only On Your Mind,’ which features one Ted Poley on backing vocals.  A stirring rocker that will appeal to the MR crowd.  Keeping that melodic rock feel going is ‘Lead Me Over’, before punching out the big guns for the modern rocker ‘Innocence’.  This is the main portion of the album over but this album does boast a few bonus tracks which are the original demos that got Steele their deal with Troika Entertainment and then RCA Records.  These are the original recordings on cassette, yes not digital, just old fashioned CrO cassettes which Zugale managed to convert across to digital to tweak and remix. The four tracks are ‘Tricks Up My Sleeve’, 'Love Ain't Gonna Change Me’,  'Flirtin With Fame’ and I’ll Never Cry’, which just shows you should never throw anything away, because you never know 15 years later you may find a use for them.

All in all an outstanding Hard Rock record and with Steele lined up for next years Z Rock Festival, I for one can't wait to hear these gems live.

Tracklisting:

1. Tricks Up My Sleeve
2. Love Ain't Gonna Change Me
3. 700 Miles
4. Flirtin' With Fame
5. Stay
6. Live Forever
7. I'll Never Cry
8. Only In Your Mind
9. Lead Me Over
10. Innocence

                  

 

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