Steelheart: ‘Through Worlds of Stardust ‘

Released on September 15 2017 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Sometimes I find it’s better to sit on a release for a few months before doing a review. Steelheart’s Through Worlds Of Stardust is one of those such releases. I have actually had this album for many months. I believe it was advanced by Frontiers Records back in August. So I have had the chance to listen to it many times, but with that said, something didn’t feel right about listening to it without actually owning it. For those who are unaware, owning it means having the actual copy in your hands. It means having the actual CD in a plastic jewel case with all the liner notes for you to sit and analyze as you listen intently. Not a compressed, impersonal piece of throw away music that you don’t really care about. I am of the belief that if you love an artist or band, you must support their product. Like you and I, they are trying to make a living as well. What would you say if your boss came to you one day and said, “Hey we’d like you to still work here, but we won’t be paying you anymore.” I know what my response would be.

As I re-read the previous comments, I think about current times and how technology has advanced. In my eyes, technology is great for certain aspects, but when it comes to recording artists, it has not been kind. For a person like me, who enjoys going to the record store, it has not been kind as well. Thankfully there are those small independent stores, like those in my hometown of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. The two that come to mind right off the bat are Kopps Records and Now & Then Records that are still keeping that flame burning for the stereo fans who want the real thing. Kopps of course strictly deals in vinyl, but I think you get the jist of what I’m saying. Back in the fall, when I interviewed Steelheart singer Miljenko Matijevic, this is the very topic that Matijevic and I touched on as we conversed between interview questions. Matijevic‘s passion for the old school way of doing things was very prevalent. So it was only fitting that I begin this review with what I feel is a topic that is very close to my heart.

So getting down to the dirt of my latest review, if you’re sitting comfortably, we shall begin… Overall, I really think this release is very solid. So with the mindset of supporting the bands I love, I thought it was only fitting to put it on my huge musical Christmas list. So come Christmas morning, lo and behold, there it would be sitting under the Christmas tree (thank you to my great mother-in-law). Once the chaos of presents, drinking, eating and all around debauchery that comes with the Christmas season was over, I decided to put it in the disc player in my wife’s Chevrolet Traverse. It hasn’t been taken out since.

“Stream Line Savings” starts off with a Zeppelin like scream. A solid, rocking lead off track. I love the swagger of Matijevic’s smooth vocal delivery. The build ups and dynamics of this song really create the perfect mood. There is a sexiness to this song. The use of instrumentation is astounding. The heavy guitars, segwaying into cool acoustic bits. “My Dirty Girl” begins with a perfectly executed heavy, dirty sounding guitar line that breaks into a crisp bass line. The song dynamically changes as Matijevic conveys his cool lyrical content throughout the verse heading into the buildup in the chorus. A catchy, infectious piece of songwriting. “Come Inside” has a cool vibe, with an interval guitar piece. Once again, the verse breaks down, letting Matijevic’s vocal line breath. Dynamically, the instruments play off of each other, with the intro guitar line being heard in the chorus and the bass carrying the song between the verses. The mix is outstanding, giving the song a very nice feel. “My Word” keeps the aggressiveness of the album moving forward. What I notice on this song is how Matijevic’s vocal in the bridge follows the creative phrasing of the guitar progression.

So far this album has not disappointed, but when it comes to the next track, the album really shines. “You Got Me Twisted” is a powerful combination of melody, serenity and aggression. It has a very modern vibe to it. If I didn’t know any better, I would think it was a band like, say, Shinedown? The honest truth is that this song would do very well on radio. Of course, this may never happen which is really unfortunate because this is such a great track. “Lips Of Rain” shows the softer side of Steelheart as a soft piano intro is heard. Throughout, the song never loses the feel of the original idea. I wasn’t sure about this song at first, but the more I listen to it, the more I get what Matijevic is trying to convey. “With Love We Live Again” starts with a soft acoustic guitar bit that allows Matijevic to show off his vocal power. The thing I find astounding on this track is that although the music is simplistic compared to previous tracks, his vocals are what really drive this composition. Matijevic could easily do this track with just him and an acoustic guitar. The vocal execution is second to none.

“Got Me Runnin” is another track that I really had to sit on for a while. Had I done this review months ago when the album was released I think my feelings would have been very different. The chorus of this song is so infectious with the bass really driving the track. I love the guitar solo. It fits very nicely. It has a very aggressive, no holds barred approach that really adds to the depth of the song. “My Freedom” features on and off, sweet harmonized vocal phrasings that really hit hard. The drum sound is big with the bass drum pounding in my chest. With that being said, this is not a heavy track. It’s a dynamically calculated track of emotional ups and downs. Kind of like that roller coaster that starts off slow, but gets intense, then brings you back to reality, when you least expect it, it turns your stomach upside down once again. When it’s all over, you think “One more time, that was awesome.” A perfectly executed composition. “I’m So In Love With You” is a short but dynamic piano laden song that ends the album off on the perfect note. Divinely beautiful.

So as you can probably tell, my actual thoughts of Through Worlds Of Stardust — simply put, outstanding throughout. I will warn those that are expecting this to sound like the band’s first two albums, 1990’s self-titled debut and 1992’s Tangled In The Reins collectively. This is not to be. Instead, it’s an artist who has grown into what I think is nothing short of genius. Through Worlds Of Stardust is a collection of sounds that fit into what is happening in heavy music in the present. Matijevic and Steelheart do not live in the past, which is blatantly obvious on this album. They have done a fantastic job of reinventing themselves on this latest release. Before passing judgement, do as I did and give it a few listens. I am firmly of the belief that you will not be disappointed.

Track List:
01. Stream Line Savings
02. My Dirty Girl
03. Come Inside
04. My Word
05. You Got Me Twisted
06. Lips Of Rain
07. With Love We Live Again
08. Got Me Runnin’
09. My Freedom
10. I’m So In Love With You

Band Members:
Miljenko Matijevic – vocals, acoustic guitar, ebow guitar
Uros Raskovski – guitar
James “Rev” Jones – bass
Mike Humbert – drums

Additional Musicians:
Sigve Sjursen – bass
Jesse Stern – bass
Randy Cooke – drums
Edward Harris Ross – piano

Produced by Miljenko Matijevic

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Tyson Briden for Sleaze RoxxJanuary 2018

Steelheart‘s “Lips Of Rain” video:

Steelheart – “Lips Of Rain” (Official Video)

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Steelheart‘s “You Got Me Twisted” video:

Steelheart – “You Got Me Twisted” (Official Music Video)

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Steelheart‘s “Got Me Runnin'” song:

Steelheart – “Got Me Runnin'” (Official Audio)

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Steelheart‘s “Come Inside” song:

Steelheart – “Come Inside” (Official Audio)

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