Introducing ‘The Steel’
Robert Fenning – Lead vocals
Shaft of Steel are one of the brightest new hopes in melodic hard rock. With a refreshingly unique sound that combines melodic metal, progressive rock and both classic and contemporary AOR, this London, UK-based act have arrived with a bang.
Alex Markham – Guitar
Andy Cooper – Bass & backing vocals
Adam Carruthers – Guitar
Chris Smurthwaite – Keyboards
Garth Vickers – Drums
The history of Shaft of Steel dates back to September 2004, when the core trio of ex-Acrimonious Anguish main man Alex Markham (guitar), vocalist Robert Fenning and bassist Andy Cooper formed while studying at The University of Hull’s Scarborough Campus. Over the course of three riotous years, going through three different drummers along the way, the group gained wide local acclaim for their anthemic songs and memorable live performances.
The band was put on hold in July 2007, when they went their separate ways after graduating. After a four-year hiatus, the trio of Alex, Rob and Andy reformed in early 2011 and went back into the studio to record new material. These sessions proved so fruitful that they decided to reform Shaft of Steel on a permanent basis and enlisted some additional members, old and new. Garth Vickers made a welcome return to the drum stool and Adam Carruthers (ex-Acrimonious Anguish) and Chris Smurthwaite (ex-Sole Survivor) were drafted in on second guitar and keyboard respectively.
Initially starting life as a power metal band, Shaft of Steel have made major stylistic leaps over the last few years. The four-track debut release showcases a unique metal and prog-tinged melodic hard rock/AOR sound that reviewers have likened to the work of bands as diverse as Shy, Serpentine, Magnum, Harem Scarem, Stryper and Work of Art. Rob Evans of Powerplay Magazine even went as far as to compare Robert Fenning’s vocals to the great Tony Mills (Shy) and Michael Sweet (Stryper).
The group collaborated with two heavyweights of the hard rock and metal world on their debut EP. Hugely respected producer and Pink Cream 69 and Unisonic bassist Dennis Ward contributed backing vocals and mastered the record. The artwork for the release was designed by Felipe Machado Franco, graphic designer for the likes of Blind Guardian, Iced Earth and Rhapsody of Fire.
2014 was a milestone year for Shaft of Steel. The debut release picked up plaudits in the music press all around the globe and their return to the stage, supporting Vega and Newman, was a triumphant one. Since then, they’ve appeared at the prestigious HRH AOR Festival in North Wales and The Underworld, Camden, where they delivered a storming hour-long set. The band are currently locked away in the studio putting the finishing touches to their upcoming debut album.
In the words of Classic Rock Presents AOR Magazine – ‘The best is doubtless yet to come from Shaft of Steel – they are going to be huge in AOR circles.’