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Review: The Gauntlet - Dark Steel and Fire
The Gauntlet
Dark Steel and Fire

Label: Nihil Verum Nisi Mors
Year released: 2023
Duration: 40:38
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black 'n' Roll


Review online: March 5, 2023
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

Dark Steel and Fire is the debut full-length album from New Jersey one-man band The Gauntlet. If you went just by the cover, you might be tempted to think the music was NWOBHM-inspired stuff, looking quite similar to Battleaxe's Burn This Town with a somewhat crude image of a warrior on a motorcycle, but you'd be wrong. The Gauntlet play punishing black 'n' roll, combining dry, rasping vocals with traditional/thrash riffage and varied tempos. Some songs have similarities with black/thrash, like the squealing blitzkrieg that is "Beyond the Limits." Others like "Winds of Mercy" have a blackened Motörhead vibe and still others, like the brooding "The Final Guard," are a little like Bathory. I wouldn't say the songwriting is very innovative, but I sort of enjoy the variety within the album which keeps it a little more interesting than your average black/thrash blur. Even with that variety, it is still an album that is fun while on but doesn't possess any hooks that make you want to come back to it again and again. Fans of the current black/thrash wave might get the most out of Dark Steel and Fire, but I can also see first-wave black metal fans tapping their feet to what The Gauntlet are dishing.

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