Obscure Long Island thrashers COLD STEEL never really had a shot back in the day once they were able to swing a full-length album "Freakboy" and their "Bracing the Fall" EP the same year. Overachieving at the wrong time in 1992, COLD STEEL might've stood a chance of reaching the third tier of Eighties cult thrash acts alongside ZNOWHITE, FORCED ENTRY, AGENT STEEL and the David Wayne spinoff, REVEREND. '92 should automatically conjure up the answer to would-be metal historians why COLD STEEL was whisked into anonymity along with thousands of their peers.
Yet, thrash and death metal are boss once again in the underground these days and COLD STEEL re-emerges with two-fifths of their original ranks, vocalist Troy Norr and guitarist Joe Shavel. This time they're reinforced by MORBID SIN shredder Eddie Campbell, ICE AGE bassist Doug O'Dell and drummer Hal Aponte. COLD STEEL 2013 is the same in sound (with touches of more tech delicacies) as COLD STEEL 1992, much less the one that formed in 1986 doing primarily covers of speed metal icons in the making, ANTHRAX, METALLICA and SLAYER. Of all those influences COLD STEEL reflects from their formative days, ANTHRAX is probably the most logical choice, even if they mirror the John Bush era (ARMORED SAINT likewise figures much into "Blink of An Eye") more so than the Belladonna or Turbin years. Albeit, you can hear much of the first Belladonna regime swinging through "Ashes to Ashes". Don't get too excited in one direction or another, since COLD STEEL are not clones of any one band of their time; they're a modest amalgam of many.
Having broken free of their prolonged hypothermia, COLD STEEL are by-products of their time and place, thus their new EP "America Idle" is full of kicking and scratching lyrics spent in condemnation of the modern world, in particular modern America. Like Jon Shaffer in ICED EARTH and even long-ago thrash heroes SACRED REICH, COLD STEEL wants to turn the United States on its duffs and swing it back to the conservative-minded, purported glory days of the American Revolution, the War Between the States, World War II and the subsequent prosperity (for whites, anyway) of the Fabulous Fifties. A return to the principles of this country's founding fathers is the groundwork to "America Idle". If you want to be more accurate, what Troy Norr and COLD STEEL woof about on the patriotic title track is a longing for the days of Reaganomics when America was feared and the country was thriving. Much as punk and metal acts in the Eighties torched Ronald Reagan while he was in office, the brutal truth is his administration is universally revered in the new millennium, even by many of his critics of the day.
There's a lingering paranoia of the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation that dominated the minds of COLD STEEL's generation of headbangers, reflected in "Blink of An Eye". Old theme brought to life yet again in more sensitive global times with new nuke coercions cropping up. Yet the manifest message to the entire EP is that contemporary American apathy leads to a projected stagnancy and that in turn leads to a potential downfall of the empire. Thus "You Lose!" lyrically sums up COLD STEEL's entire docket. At the core, the "America Idle" EP is base fundamentalism using scorching guitar solos and mosh and march modes to drive their point home instead of stocks and bombs.
"America Idle" isn't perfect, but nobody expected that after so long a layoff. At least COLD STEEL has much of their act together and you're either on board with their partisan platform or you're obtuse to it. At least COLD STEEL whips out some gnarly twin solos from Joe Shavel and Eddie Campbell and they show their metal hearts beat with as much conviction as their nationalist pride.