In the tenth year of Diabolic Night’s existence, prime mover Heavy Steeler releases a second album that not only ultimately defines his solo project but also pushes the boundaries of what scenesters have declared to be the pure doctrine of blackened speed metal. Honing his craft in the course of one demo, 7-inch and mini LP respectively, the reclusive musician from North Rhine-Westphalia, the cradle of German heavy metal, released his debut full-length “Beyond the Realm” in late 2019 to much critical acclaim, thereby establishing the basic formula for more things to come.
“A desire I carried with me from an early age was to write a coherent story set in a fictional world where the listener is engrossed from the first to the last second”, Heavy Steeler explains, stressing that present reality gets disregarded in favour of a strictly escapist experience. Thus, “Beneath the Crimson Prophecy” is even more themed than its loosely conceptual predecessor, as reflected in both the opulent artwork and photography. In fact, we are witnessing an ongoing saga, it seems: “While on the first album, you could watch the castle from the outside and the angels fighting over the kingdom, we are now inside”, he concludes. “Here, the whole story further unfolds.”
Atmospherically, Diabolic Night’s new material sports a slightly darker armour without neglecting any of the assets the multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer has become known for: NWoBHM-tinged lead guitar work as in the earworm ‘Pandemonium‘ or the addictive, singable melodies of ‘Starlit Skies‘, frosty tremolos straight from early-90s Scandinavia as well as unmistakable mid-80s Ruhr area breakneck drumming and a barking vocal delivery.
Nevertheless, there’s an epic twist to it all, palpable already in the enormously catchy opening tune ‘Tales Of Past & Mystery’ and carried along to the glorious eight-minute closer ‘Arktares Has Fallen‘. The fact that the second half contains the more expansive fare – typical sleeper tracks that turn out to be the brightest gems on the record – is testament to the narrative structure and Heavy Steeler’s uncompromising vision.
Recorded once again with the help of trusted skinsman Christhunter in three different studios and graced with another striking cover by Adam Burke (Angel Witch, Portrait), “Beneath the Crimson Prophecy” screams to be performed on stage, which will happen, of course, with Heavy Steeler’s full live line-up. So after you’ve been taken “Beyond”, now it’s time to look at what’s “Beneath”…