As I am sure many of you are adhering to the “stay at home orders” you may also be dealing with some boredom issues. To counteract that I present SteelCity’s second album Mach II as an instant 47-minute cure for boredom. This energetic, melodic 11 song romp will get your blood pumping and engulf your mind with quality rock and roll. If you are a fan of soaring vocals, strong harmonies, and driving beats Mach II is your album and SteelCity is your band.
Originally to be a solo project for founding guitarist Mike Floros, SteelCity morphed into a full band project starting with 2018’s album Fortress. Since Fortress the band has grown and changed leaving Floros as the only member from that original incarnation. Enter vocalist extraordinaire Roy Cathey, bassist Jason Cornwall, keyboardist Tony Stahl, and drumming from House of Lords fame BJ Zampa. This is a tight band full of talented musicians, but for me, the MVP of this album is the vocals of Roy Cathey. His voice is in absolute pristine shape showing fantastic range and the ability to hit all the high notes. I had the pleasure of seeing him live on the 2020 Monsters of Rock cruise fronting his first band Cold Sweat. Let me tell you he can still deliver the goods live.
The album opens with the first video and single, “Hearts On Fire”. This song is a good cross-section of my favourite things about this band. Super catchy chorus, soaring vocals, great guitar work, and a pounding rhythm section-great start! “Dead Man” follows the same path as the previous song but has that “it” factor that sticks in your brain, one of my favourites on the album. The 80’s keyboard vibe that starts the third song, “Steal Your Heart” piques my interest and holds it with fantastic vocal phasing and a huge guitar solo at the end.
“Wasted Time” reminds me so much of the band Angel with its huge pre-chorus, and that is such a good thing. “I Cry” starts with a great guitar intro but kind of treads water after that. “A Little Love” is the song that first caught my ear. This song drives my wife crazy because I am constantly singing it around the house, out of tune of course.
The next track is a power ballad called “Still Close to My Heart”. Again another melody that instantly imprints on your brain, and translates the emotion of the lyric. The next two songs are maybe the heaviest on the album. First is the groove-heavy “Give It Back” which shows off a great rhythm section. And second is the slow builder “Spotlight” that sports a wailing guitar solo. Track ten is an intro piano piece “Prayer for Love” that leads into the closer “Down To One”. Another heartfelt power ballad that has some tasty guitar work including an electric intro and acoustic guitar solo. A solid end to a great album.
My final thoughts on SteelCity’s Mach II is simple, go out and get this album if you are a fan of melodic 80’s glam rock a la Bon Jovi or Europe. Songs with big, melodic choruses and great guitar work that have a modern sound that reminds you of the good ole days. I can’t say enough good things about the vocals on this album, and I enjoyed every song on Mach II. For me this is a fun album that came along at the perfect time. Buy this album!
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Andy “Maddog” Lafon