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STEELHOUSE LANE / SLAVES OF THE NEW WORLD
LABEL: MTM MUSIC 199682
OVERALL: 97%
Produced by: Mike Slamer
  1. Call It Love
  2. Find What We're Looking For
  3. Son Of A Loaded Gun
  4. Turn Around
  5. Slaves Of The New World
  6. All I Believe In
  7. Into Deep
  8. The Nightmare Begins
  9. Where Are You Now
  10. All Or Nothin'
  11. Seven Seas
  12. If Love Should Go
On my first listen, I went wow! Where are the keyboards? This rocks....
Second listen I was going 'well what's happening here?'
Third listen I went 'bloody magic!'
The album just clicked. This is a sensational album. The album is heavier and tougher than I expected, but still filled with some of the best hooks and harmonies of any AOR release in recent times.
MTM have released one of their best ever records in Slaves...
Mike Slamer has also done a stupendously good job producing this album. Any major label would be proud to release this album.
It might take a few listens to fully absorb the songs, the hooks, the layers and the harmonies as this time around we don't already know half of the songs!
This album proves without doubt that Slamer is a premiere song writer and his protege Keith Slack is a killer vocalist and one hell of a discovery.
Opening the album is a sharp mid tempo hard edged rocker Call It Love. It's pretty evident from the outset that the production value has increased markedly and the sound has tightened also.
Keith Slack has a harder edge to his voice this time around and the guitar is more prominent in the mix. In turn, the keyboard has been turned right down.
This opening track is Hardline all over and easily matches the quality of that album. Find What We're Looking For has a more melodic slant to it's intro, with a killer guitar hook. It has a heavy and majorly melodic bridge / chorus and some huge harmony vocals. There is several layers to the track and a great solo to finish the song.
Son Of A Loaded Gun has two sides to it. The softly sung and performed verse and the explosive Hardline / House Of Lords chorus. The song overall is mid paced - neither a ballad or a rocker. Just a strong slow to mid paced rock song. Turn Around sees more technical guitar work in the style of early Asia or Steve Lukather and Toto at their best. Another soft verse that builds to a big AOR ballad chorus that continues to grow and is one hell of a catchy ballad.
Then Slaves Of The New World is insane! The intro is hard and heavy. A furious song with a modern feel and an almost rap vocal effect in places. The song chops and changes pace and style, has another killer guitar solo and as for the chorus - it's heavy, fast and out there!
It's generally not representative of the rest of the album style wise, although you will certainly hear the great production sound.
All I Believe In is one of the best ballads I have heard in years and the best Steelhouse Lane ballad so far. The intro runs a couple of minutes through a slow guitar solo similar to Neal Schon's approach on his Late Nite solo album.
The song builds to a wonderful chorus of soaring vocals and harmonies. Great track.}
Into Deep heads back into rocker mode. A very enjoyable and fairly standard guitar driven rocker with some great vocals and more harmonies come chorus time. A little more Hardline influence.
The Nightmare Begins is another slightly different and very cool track. The intro is a heavy blend of guitar and keyboards and is a little progressive in it's arrangement. The song overall and it's chorus are darker and moodier than the rest of the record.
Where Are You Now rocks out and contains some pretty technical guitar work from Slamer. Now we are not talking Dream Theater here, but it is sure as hell above your average AOR album standard!
All Or Nothin' is another classic Slammin' AOR tune (get it?). Big harmonies and chorus. A mid paced and somewhat darker verse leads into that big chorus.
Seven Seas is an absolute killer. A classic AOR anthem. Big chorus, big vocals, big harmonies and matches any great song from any era of melodic music. In If Love Should Go, you couldn't have picked a better track to end the album. It's guitar driven and uptempo, but has a more easy going approach. A more pop rock track with another harmony filled chorus and while neither being heavy or soft, just feels like a end of album track.
It would appear one your first few listens that there is less pure AOR and maybe less hooks on Slaves then the band's debut album. True to a point, but after a few listens this album really comes to life and is clearly a better release than is predecessor. I hope it will be thought of like that by all.
Regardless, this is a classic AOR album, one of the best that MTM have ever released and should be added to every reader of this site's collection.
Have a listen out for the God of melodic vocals Chris Thompson on backing vocals through the album and especially on Seven Seas.
This will become a classic without doubt and is indeed the stuff legends are made of.
PRODUCTION: 95%SONGS: 98%VIBE: 95%ATTITUDE: 98%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All AOR fans, Hardline/House Of Lords fans, Mike Slamer fans. Everyone!
DISCOGRAPHY: Mike Slamer - Streets . City Boy . Angry Anderson . Tower City; Steelhouse Lane - Metallic Blue . Slaves Of The New World



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