Lethal Steel formed in 2011 and released their first and only demo one year later, creating an immediate buzz in underground circles with their raw and unfiltered sound of pure 80’s heavy metal. German label High Roller records swiftly signed the group and in 2016 their first full length effort Legions of the Night was released to the world. Lineup changes forced the band to take some time off and regroup as both guitarists decided to part ways, leading us to now, four years later, with the release of Running from the Dawn, a 4-track EP picking up right from where the band left off.
Things kick off with “Weekday Refugee” and a short, brooding and melancholic intro leading to classic, old school heavy metal frenzy. This is probably the most diverse song this band has written so far, with a quite unusual rhythmic chorus that has somewhat of a dance feeling to it. Surprises pretty much end there, as next song “Stay Away” is a near 6-minute relentless speed metal rocket redelivering the atmosphere and feel of their debut. While the riffs are intriguing and strong (kudos to the excellent punchy bass sound that is often neglected in faster songs), this lengthy song could use some more lead guitar work and ideas that seem missing and could give more diversity to the track.
Persisting with the fast-paced tempo “Ge Allt” (loosely translated into “All In” in English) is an older song first released in 2013 that continues the band’s tradition of lyrics in their native tongue (like “Nattsvart” on their debut). After all this band has most definitely a very Swedish sound, being heavily influenced by the likes of Heavy Load, Gotham City, Mindless Sinner and most of all, cult underground heroes Jonah Quizz. This was the band of Candlemass’s first (and current) singer, Johan Längqvist, the baritone aura of whom can be easily traced in Viktor Gustafsson’s (LS singer) voice.
The boys saved the best for last, as closer “City of Sin” bursts out with an epic, in your face attitude and a fantastic chorus, displaying Gustafsson’s best vocal traits. Mid-tempo galloping riffs give way to a beautiful Merciful Fate infused twin lead-guitar attack, before the glorious finale. By far the finest moment on this EP, “Running from the Dawn” goes out with a bang.
Let’s hope the five Swedes can solidify their lineup and get some touring going before they present us with their eagerly anticipated next full length. And that this time it will be delivered sooner rather than later.
Album rating: 83/100
Favorite track: City of Sin”