What do you think an album called “Screaming Steel” with its first song “Made Of Metal” is going to sound like? When it comes to Durbin, this is not a trick question. There’s lots of stuff about “Defending the flame”, riffs that think it’s 1981, and vocals that soar like Rob Halford (or Ripper Owens, take your pick!).

The title song and “Where They Stand” are the sort of thing you’ve heard before, but you know what? So what! “Hallows” is fun. It chugs. “Power Of The Reaper” is a masterclass in what metal should sound like – in fact, it is what non-metal fans think metal always sounds like, and maybe there’s a bit of that about all of this (no one could argue it is original but that’s part of its charm). “Beyond The Night,” for example, is the work of a man who wants to make music that sounds like his heroes.

“The Worshipper 1897” adds a tinge of Sabbath-y doom, while “Tear Them Down” is a real highlight as Taylor Washington (one of a few guest guitarists) plays a brilliant solo. Elsewhere, the band comprises some of the top session men in Italy (this is a Frontiers release after all) and it shows on work like “Rebirth.”

There’s been a lot of sniffy nonsense about James Durbin. He was in American Idol. And like my two “who cares?” earlier in this, then I can’t pretend to be fussed about that either. This is a metal record, made by a man who loves metal. He can sing like a (Metal) god and “Screaming Steel” is just fine.

Rating: 8/10

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