Steelheart Records
Release date: October 19, 2006

User Review
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If you go back to the early 1990s, you might remember the band Steelheart: they had a pretty big hit from their self-titled debut album, the monster ballad “I’ll Never Let You Go.” This song would be a top-20 hit in the United States. The followup disc, Tangled In Reins, did pretty well for them too.

Good fortune turned to bad, though … lead singer Mike Matijevic would suffer very serious injuries –- both physical and mental — in an on-stage accident; painful injuries that would take many years to fully recover from. This ended Steelheart’s time in the spotlight.

While on the long road to recovery, Matijevic would reform Steelheart, albeit with an all-new line-up. The group would release an album called Wait that wold only see release in Asia due to legal issues. While the disc was never released in North America, one of its songs, “We All Die Young,” would end up on the soundtrack to the Heavy Metal movie Rock Star. Matijevic also provided Mark Wahlberg’s “singing voice” in that flick.

Flash ahead to 2006: Matijevic (no longer Mike, but instead his given name of Miljenko) now fully recovered from the trauma that robbed him of years of living and livelihood, has released a four-song EP under the Steelheart name called Just A Taste, a sampler of a full album that is due out in early 2007. Three of the songs are new, and “We All Die Young” is included as a bonus track.

If you were expecting Just A Taste to sound like “vintage” hair-era Steelheart, or like the songs from the Rock Star soundtrack, you may be in for a surprise: Matijevic has left those days in the past, not wanting to re-hash past glories. Just A Taste represents a more modernized Steelheart, updated for a new audience. It isn’t NuMetal (thankfully), but it’s more edgy and aggressive, and has a bit of Progressive strain running through it. Definitely not your father’s (or older brother’s) Steelheart. Yeah, it’s “Modern” and “darker” and all that, but in a good way.

Once you get around the fact that the glory days are over, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying Just A Taste, since it’s pretty good: Matijevic has always had a great voice, and while he doesn’t hit the soaring, sustained heights you might remember from the Steelheart heyday, the guy can still sing and nail those piercing highs when he chooses to. Matijevic picks his spots more now when deciding whether to let it rip or when to hold back. Lead-off song “(LOL) Laughing Out Loud” is a good example of this, and this track also uses distorted vocals in places, to good effect. Even though the music’s different, it’s good to hear Matijevic singing again, especially knowing what a struggle it was for him to even come back at all.

Musically, Just A Taste is done well, with good melody to the songs and strong playing throughout. “Laughing Out Loud” has some nice choppy riffing and a cool chorus, and “Twisted Future” uses some subtle orchestration that makes the song stand out. The bonus track “We All Die Young” is more stripped-down than the version that you heard in Rock Star, but it’s done pretty well.

While Just A Taste isn’t the “classic” Steelheart some may have been hoping for, it’s still an enjoyable listen and certainly piques interest for the upcoming full-length disc.


  • Gary McLean

    Gary was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of the small Ontario, Canada town of Sault Ste. Marie, right on the border of Michigan, USA. When it comes to Metal and Hard Rock, Gary likes quite a few different bands, from stalwarts like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to newer, hard-hitting groups such as Primal Fear, Hammerfall, and Paragon. Other favorites include the likes of Nightwish, Running Wild, Therion, Accept, Stratovarius, Dream Evil, Helloween, Rammstein, Dirty Looks, Crimson Glory, Tristania, and Gamma Ray. He thinks AC/DC deserves a paragraph all their own though.

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