Recent Reviews

June 2024

May 2024

April 2024

March 2024

February 2024

[ More Music Reviews ]

Shaft Of Steel: Steel Heartbeat
Shaft Of Steel - Steel Heartbeat Art Work

Shaft Of Steel: Steel Heartbeat

Melodic Hard Rock/AOR

The origins of Shaft Of Steel go back to 2004 when two Hull University students, Alex Markham (guitar) and Robert Fenning (vocals), started the act as a power metal band. Gathering some like-minded musicians, Shaft Of Steel became a performing band within the Scarborough music scene until disbanding upon their gradution. Markham and Fenning would later resurrect the band in 2011 to change and pursue a more AOR melodic hard rock sound. Shaft Of Steel would drop a short self-titled EP and 2014. Now, after a few personnel changes, the band returns with their first long-player, Steel Heartbeat.

Shaft Of Steel - Click For Larger Image

Shaft Of Steel

I should say from the start, considering the band name and album title, I really expected Shaft Of Steel to play traditional heavy metal. Nope. Shaft Of Steel has certainly attained their goal of delivering melodic hard rock enveloped in an AOR wrapper. Considering the band's principal members are a vocalist and guitarist, you will find a great degree of emphasis on those musical parts. Fenning has strong voice with some range which easily leads and carries the song melody and harmony. He gets some vocal harmony support from legendary vocalist and producer Dennis Ward. For his part, Markham is an exceptional guitarist. His riffs can be strong and sharp, yet always tuned to the harmony of the song, and his solos are righteous and roaring throughout. With many songs beginning with a strong guitar start, whether by riffs or solo, Shaft Of Steel's sound is best summarized as guitar-forward AOR melodic hard rock.

To some songs, you'll hear Markham's guitar launch songs like I've Never Been Alone, All Because Of You, and Together As One Tonight, wherein later he tears into some epic solos. For Lucky Girl, his opening solo leads to a feisty and fast riff rocker. Within the rising anthems, Body And Mind and Every Time I Look At You, classical piano takes the lead before the guitar lines fire up. The same piano plays a significant part of carrying the melody of the anthemic ballad Vulnerable Man. Perhaps the only thing I would change across the album is the length of the songs. More than half the songs could have easily been trimmed by one to three minutes for a more succint sound. Nevertheless, with Steel Heartbeat, Shaft Of Steel still delivers a fine and entertaining album of guitar-driven AOR melodic hard rock. Recommended.

Another Amazing Dangerdog Music Review
Confess - Burn 'Em All Music Review

Confess: Burn 'Em All

Melodic Heavy Metal Rock

My first and last experience with Sweden's Confess was 2014's Jail, a solid album from New Wave of Scandinavian Sleaze Metal wave, which began at the turn of ... [ Read More ] - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

Note: All Amazon advertising in this review first benefits the artist, then Craig Hartranft also receives a residual. Click, and thanks for your support.

The Bottom Line

With Steel Heartbeat, Shaft Of Steel delivers a fine and entertaining album of guitar-driven AOR melodic hard rock, which fans of the same will enjoy. Recommended.

Find A Review

Alphabetical Index

a b c d e f g h i j
k l m n o p q r s t
u v w x y z #
New & Notable
Read the Marty Friedman: Drama Album Review

Marty Friedman needs little introduction. His rise to guitar stardom began in Cacophony, a band he formed with Jason Becker. Then, as we all know, his career excelled when he joined Dave Mustaine's Megadeth ... [ Read More ]