Existance- Steel Alive (Mausoleum Records)

Is the metal heart steel alive? (I'm sorry)
Release Date: 
25 Apr 2014 (All day)

Heavy metal, I think we need to have a chat about your spelling problems.

It was cute at first, what with the "deth's" and the "magick's" and I kept quiet despite not understanding the necessity for it. Then "ov" and "fyre" started being used more and more and I found myself beginning to wonder if some serious learning difficulties were not at play here.

Now we come to this band's name: Existance. They are from France, so the case very well might be that they intended to call themselves Existence, yet kept a misspelled name until it was too late to change it. Which is stupid because it's such a small and simple spelling error that surely someone would have noticed it. The other possibility is that the misspelling was intentional and is supposed to be some play on words such as "Exist-Stance", which is even stupider because it's such a small error that half of the people that read it won't even notice it. Also, Exist-Stance? Really? I hope I'm wrong about that.

Thankfully, Existance's music isn't as stupid as their name is.

Claiming to keep the spirit of 80s' metal alive, the band plays a muscular style of classic/speed metal that brings to mind the modern efforts of bands like Accept and particularly Saxon, albeit with a bit more spit and polish. Opening track Legends Never Die shows just how accomplished Existance are at their chosen craft, with solid songwriting chops, soaring vocals and some truly impressive guitar work. Band main-man Julian Izard had a genuinely good set of pipes on him and that's pretty essential to sell this sort of music in 2014.

Tracks like Black Viper and Dead or Alive keep the quality coming, each packing top riffs and strong choruses, but things start to lag a bit towards the second half of the album. Slaughter, Burning Angel and Get Away all fail to bring anything interesting or exciting to the table and have me reaching for the skip button. Thankfully, the album is bookmarked by Close to the End and From Hell, giving the listener a bit of mouthwash to rid themselves of the bad taste in their mouth.

Steel Alive isn't enthralling or essential listening, but can be rather fun in places. Just keep that in mind if you're thinking of purchasing it.