PALACE – The 7th Steel
Teutonic metal has a special place in my heart. Growing up the sounds of Accept, The Scorpions, Running Wild, Grave Digger, and Helloween received a modest amount of turntable spins. So when I find out that Palace espouse similar beliefs in their stylistic template, the ears perk up. "The 7th Steel" is ironically their seventh full length in their 24 year career, yet my first exposure to the band’s traditional metal leanings.
What you can expect from songs like "Holy Black Rider" and "Iron Horde" are simplified choruses meant for easy audience consumption, fist pumping riffs of a mid-tempo variety, and power lead breaks that occasionally allow for that twin harmonic axe action that is a staple of the genre. Jason Mathias and Harald ‘HP’ Piller form an infectious guitar duo, throw in a lot of subtle dynamic nuances in terms of their chord choices and transitions, working to the overall arrangement benefit on a highlight such as the anthem "Metal Company" where a lot of cultural refrains come into play during the instrumental sections.
It is obvious that the band loves Judas Priest, Grave Digger, and anything related to Accept (how can you deny it in terms of those spectacular ‘Teutonic’ gang choruses?), while drummer Harald Reiter chooses to be very careful in his double bass use – although it works wonders in the attacking "Secret Signs". Harald as a vocalist could be a hit or miss depending on your need for someone very melodic and powerful in your traditional metal. You see, his range isn’t super spectacular – imagine the late Gus Chambers and Axxis’ Bernhard Weiß crashing headlong into each other – which can make "Rot in Hell" and the otherwise fist waving "Teutonic Hearts" choppy going.
The good outweighs the not so good, so Palace will gain a decent appreciation because old German true metal will never die.