“Sergeant Steel is Austria’s hard rock band number 1 and was founded in 2007 in Upper Austria. The group has released the three albums Lovers & Maniacs (2010), Men On A Mission (2013) and Riders Of The Worm (2015) internationally. Furthermore they produced the official anthem of Austria’s first division hockey team EHC Black Wings Linz.”
Pretty weird thing, that I, a Austrian who happens to be a big hard rock fan, have never heard of Austria’s self proclaimed #1 hard rock band. After listening to their new record Truck Tales, which comes out worldwide on January 22 2021, I caught myself thinking: “Holy hell, why haven’t I heard of them?”
Produced by their guitar player Jack Power, and fine-tuned in Nashville by Michael Wagener (the guy who also happens to have mixed Ozzy’s No more Tears and Metallica’s Master of Puppets), the record’s main theme is truck driver cliches. Like the freedom of the road, or the life of modern street cowboys.
Starting off the record is the single Fight Fire With Fire. A very solild opener, with a grooving riff, and an incredibly catchy chorus. Definitely the most hair-metalish hard rock song I have ever heard. They take a deep dive into the funk with their next track. Backseat Lover almost sounds like they collaborated with Stevie Wonder on this one. According to their liner notes they didn’t. Still a dope song though. The first calmer moments of the album come in the intro of Dance Into the Light. The song almost tricks you into thinking, that it’s the opening moments of a country-song. But after a minute it developes into a rock’n’roll track. I especially liked the keyboard-parts in this one. They have a pinch of Elton John’s early stuff in them (but only a pinch).
Now comes my personal low-point from the album. Brotherhood is so cheesy, My loudspeakers almost tripped all over my floor. Although I have to admit, that I have very high standards, when it comes to ballads. I also kinda hate a-cappella intros (notable exception: Carry on Wayward Son). I definitely see why that track has to be on this album though. You can’t make an album about the road, without adding a song about the kindred spirits that inhabit the road.
The record kicks into gear again with the excellent doubleteam-attack, that is Voodoo Queen and Body Language. Probably my favourite tracks on this record. Along with the aforementioned Backseat Lover. Pain in My Ass and Hunter fail a little to impress after them. That is probably due to the high standards my ears have after listening to the preceding songs. It get’s a little cheesy again, with The Time Will Come. A song that sounds like it could have come from early Europe (the band). It seems cheese isn’t alsways bad. In fact, it sounds almost like one of the big AOR-hyms of the 80ies. Finishing the album on a high-note, is the again very hair-metalish Nightmare.
I don’t know about you guys, but my musical journey through 2021 had a good start. Truck Tales from Sergeant Steel is one hell of a fun hellride from start to finish, and I really can’t believe I have never heard of this band up until now. Hope they’ll stop by in Graz on their next tour. I’ll go now and listen to the rest of their back-catalouge.
Here you can also read our earlier review of Sergeant Steel’s Riders of the Worm.
I like music. All of it. Except for schlager… And ballermann. Oh boy do I hate ballermann.