Steel Prophet - Book of the Dead


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit
Steel Prophet - Book of the Dead
Nuclear Blast - 2001
By Rodrigo


A funny thing happened as I listened to Messiah, Steel Prophet’s last studio album. At first, I was extremely excited about that album and really loved it. But after each new listen, I grew more and more bored with it, to the point that I traded it away. In the end the only songs I liked from that album were "The Ides of March" and "Ghosts Once Past" and no other song seem to capture the "magic" that those two songs had, especially "The Ides of March". I assume by that now you are asking yourself, "What is the point of this story?" Well, simply put when I received Book of the Dead I knew that it was going to require plenty of listens in order to properly analyze it.

I will first start out with the negatives I have with Book of the Dead. One of the greater strengths that Messiah had was Rick Mythiasin’s singing but in Book of the Dead at times he sounds whiny and really does not show what he really do with his singing. Now when I received this copy I first thought that this was going to be a darker maybe even heavier album. I based this on the cover of the album and the title. Well the saying, "Don’t judge a book by its cover" rings true here. The majority of the music stays in a mid-tempo range (which really disappointed me at first) and there is really one heavy and trashy song "Phobia". Frankly, I ended up being extremely happy with the overall tempo of the album except in "Phobia". I enjoy heavy and trashy music but this song is not good at all. I find it annoying and I feel like Steel Prophet tried too hard with this song. Finally, it really does not fit with the rest of the album. Book of the Dead also includes four instrumentals like the Spanish influenced "Soleares" but I could have done without the last one "Oleander". A female voice constantly says the title of the song in a really funky fashion. This would have fit much better as a hidden track (kind of like what Edguy did on Theater of Salvation). That’s it for the negatives!

The great thing is that there are more positives to talk about regarding Book of the Dead. One of these is the phenomenal twin-guitar work by Steve Kachinsky and newcomer Jim Williams. Book of the Dead is filled with plenty of cool and tasty riffs, leads and solos and it is what makes this album really great. The Helloween inspired intro on "When Six Was Nine", the melodic driving guitars and the instrumental part from 1:50 to 2:39 are all excellent qualities of this really catchy tune. A slow guitar riff starts off "Tragic Flaws" before more melodic guitars blow through your speakers. The chorus section is my favorite part of the song. The vocal melodies by Rick really shine here. Another great example of catchy vocal melodies is in the chorus in "Locked Out". The galloping driving pace of "Church of Mind" is another highlight of the album (another excellent strength of Steel Prophet is the work of bassist Vince Dennis and drummer Karl Rosqvist and this song they truly add their own power and flavor). Check out the section from this song that starts at 4:03 and goes all the way to the end and tell me you don’t like it! Finally, if all this isn’t enough to sell you that Steve and Jim do an excellent job then listen to "Burning into Darkness". Especially the part from 3:42 to 5:02 which includes the best solo of the album (unfortunately I do not know who does it but I am assuming Steve plays it).

In conclusion, I feel that Book of the Dead is a huge improvement over Messiah as far as songwriting and better songs are concerned. I was really disappointed with some of Rick’s singing because I feel he can do a better job. If he had equaled his performance from Messiah, this album would have been much stronger. However, Book of the Dead is a great rocking heavy metal release that deserves your attention!