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Steel City – Fortress Review

Label: Kivel Records

Release Date: Out Now

Genre: Hard Rock


Bryan Cole: Vocals
Mike Floros: Guitar/Backing Vocals
Scott West: Bass
Ron McCloskey: Drums

1. Do You Love Me
2. Heart and Soul
3. Turnabout
4. Picture of Beauty
5. Too Little Too Late
6. Someone Like You
7. Passing Ships
8. Shame On You
9. Rock! In the U.S.A.
10. Back On the Streets

If you’re not scouring social media and in particular the smaller labels promoting on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, their own site, etc.,) you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Just because a band/album is being shoved in your face doesn’t make that a better album. It just means their PR department has the money to push it. So many people equate the number of albums sold to the greatness of said album. This won’t be a popular thing for some of you to read, but most of the biggest sellers are crap to most people. PR machines and passing fads create so much of this phenomenon, and the basic music consumer laps it up. I guess what I’m getting at is, for every band that sells millions upon millions of albums, there are at least half a dozen floating out there in a local market or on a smaller label that are making way better music, and the music lovers are missing out. And yes, I realize that there are some major sellers that are good albums, but I think those are few and far between. If that’s the stuff you want to hear, by all means, have at it. I’d rather listen to an album like Fortress from the band Steel City than 99% of the Top 40 garbage out there.

Kivel Records have done it again. Steel City’s debut Fortress is the type of album that is perfect for this time of year- early Spring, working its way towards the Summer, the temperatures are starting to warm up, and you’re breaking through the Winter doldrums. As someone that grew up during the height of 80’s Hard Rock, it’s nice to hear a band still keeping that high energy sound alive. Big guitars, bigger vocals (minus the bigger hair); songs that inspire and make you feel good. The positivity is expressed through the powerful voice of Bryan Cole (not to mention the immense group vocals during the chrous’ of most of the tracks,) the great guitar work of Mike Floros (also the mastermind behind the writing of almost all of the songs,) bassist Scott West and drummer Ron McCloskey round out the line-up keeping the backbeat locked in and tight. Steel City aren’t about flash and balls, but just playing some really great, catchy tunes without making any bigger a statement than the enjoyment of creating some amazing tunes and entertaining the fans. As if their own stuff like “Turnabout,” “Rock! In the U.S.A.” and “Too Little Too Late” weren’t enough, they bust out a fantastic cover of Vinnie Vincent Invasion’s “Back On the Streets” that easily rivals the original.

Steel City have released one of the catchiest albums thus far for the year. It’s been my latest “go to” album when I needed a boost to my mood. Unabashed and unashamed of proudly rocking hard and doing it right, Fortress is a formidable album for fans of 80’s melodic Hard Rock. If you love catchy hooks and huge vocals, this album is perfect for you. This one is going to be a tough one to pry from my player for a long time to come.

Score: 9 out of 10

Reviewed by Chris Martin



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