As we reviewed the legendary heavy metal album See You In Hell by Grim Reaper last year, and deservingly branded it with a Steel Mill Klassik mark, the new release by ex-Grim Reaper frontman Steve Grimmett should prove an interesting view on what the singer’s been up to lately. As Grim Reaper the band disbanded after their 1987 unimaginatively titled ‘Rock You To Hell’ album, Grimmett next appeared in 1989, handling the vocal duties on british thrashers Onslaught on the ‘In Search Of Sanity’ album, but only to leave the band soon afterwards. his next appeareance took place a few years later fronting the band Lionsheart on their self titled 1992 release. Lionsheart kept releasing albums every now and then during the years, with the band’s story so far culminating on 2004’s excellent ‘Abyss’ album that would’ve deserved much more success than it actually did.
In 2006 Grimmett actually put a revamped version of Grim Reaper together for an European tour, but when the ideas of recording a new album arose, the results led to a solo album; ‘Personal Crisis’.
‘Personal Crisis’ proves that the decision was wise. While the name Steve Grimmett might not tell much to the younger metal audience, those metalheads who witnessed Grim Reaper back in the eighties or otherwise have done their metal history lessons well should immediately get certain expectations on their minds. And Grimmett doesn’t let ’em down. ‘Personal Crisis’ is a strong NWOBHM based heavy metal album that crafts skillfully together the familiar elements of classic metal music; smoking riffs, fine solos, addicitive song structures, melodic shine and no-nonsense rock’n’roll attitude topped off with Grimmett’s undeniable vocal talent that remains admirable even after twenty years since the time he earned fame screaming out those insanely highpitched yells of See You In Hell. Those famed glass-shattering shrieks don’t belong into his register anymore, but though the Scream isn’t there anymore in it’s old form – his voice has matured into a more flexible, one could say versatile form, than it was back in the Reaper heyday. Adds more depth to the songs and suits the album very well.
As for the songs, the selection is nice and more than adequate to satisfy the needs of any fans of quality classic metal. For a couple of examples, we get ‘Afterglow’ that crushes on with steely riffs like a mad heavy metal motor, offers a brilliantly smart melody for the verses and tops the cake with a driving chorus that should get your metal instincts fired up. ‘Strength’ at the latter part of the record, on the other hand, has a more commercial touch to it and reminds of the 80’s stadion metal days when the hairdos were huge and the choruses even bigger.
All in all the songs work very well and use the old formula with style, being at the same time easily categorized but never too predictable. A lot of high points and clever ideas are included throughout the album and raise the level of it’s quality… the fastly accelerating and then again slowing parts of ‘Promises’, excellently functioning contrast of subtle piano and frantic drums on ‘Lonely’, Steve’s menacing tone on top of some steaming heavy riffs on ‘Freedom’, inclusion of female vocals (Joanna Ruiz) on ‘Enemy’…. a lot of high points to spice the album up and earning it more and more spinning times on the CD player. Grim Reaper classic ‘Wrath Of The Ripper’ returns from the past, not better than the original, but with better production the track more than earns it’s place and reminds why Grim Reaper was such a great band. Pure heavy metal song.
Personal Crisis is not an album that would leave you gasping at it’s groundbreaking sound or ideas. Nor is it trying to reinvent the heavy metal wheel with the same ideas as a thousand times before. The album shows a bunch of talented, old-school metallists doing what they do best and doing it very well. If you’re a fan of traditional heavy metal – this one’s a sure bet for you.
2. Wait For Ever
10. Wrath Of The Ripper