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A message from Alex

Alex Markham

Alex has checked in with the following update:

“It’s great to finally have the EP all wrapped up and ready to go. We’ve been working on this for so long and the end product really is an accurate representation of how much the band has developed over the last 3 years.

“As most people who have been following our progress will already know, we had demos of these songs out there on SoundCloud and other streaming sites for quite a while and they got a really great reception, which we’re very thankful for. However, we knew we could do better and we didn’t want to rush-release these songs. We went back and mixed the whole EP again from scratch, adding new guitars, new keyboards and, of course, new backing vocals. Dennis Ward did a great job on these. He delivered the trademark choirs he’s known for and we absolutely love how they fit perfectly into the tracks.”

So, what’s next?

“Well, we’re still exploring our options with the release. We’ve worked so hard on this EP and we want it to get as much exposure as possible. We need to be working with the right people to achieve this, so there are discussions going on. We’re aiming to have the EP out by the end of the year, regardless of what happens.

“I want to thank everyone who has supported us thus far for their patience. We’re almost there and you’ve certainly had to wait long enough!”

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Shaft of Steel announce collaboration with Dennis Ward

Dennis Ward

Shaft of Steel are very pleased to announce that they are currently working with producer extraordinaire Dennis Ward. Best known for being the bassist in legendary German hard rockers Pink Cream 69 (and now melodic metal supergroup Unisonic), Dennis has handled production duties for a roster of stellar acts including Krokus, Joe Lynn Turner’s Sunstorm, Place Vendome (featuring ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske), Eden’s Curse, House of Lords, Fergie Fredericksen, Bob Catley, Angra and First Signal (featuring Harry Hess of Harem Scarem).

“We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Dennis”, says guitarist and founding member Alex Markham. “I’ve been a huge fan of his work for many years and I was thrilled when he accepted the job”.

“It was becoming increasingly obvious that we weren’t going to be able to finish the EP ourselves, so we thought ‘if we’re going to do this, let’s do it properly’ and decided to bring in a real heavyweight of the melodic metal world. Dennis‘s name is on pretty much all of my favourite albums from the last few years, so when we started throwing some names around, it was an easy decision to approach him”.

Dennis has been drafted in to sing backing vocals and master the EP. “Andy (Cooper, bass) wrote some great backing vocal arrangements, but we felt that we really needed to get a recognisable voice on there”, continues Alex. “You just have to listen to anything by Place Vendome or Sunstorm and you’ll see why we asked Dennis. He’s got such a tuneful, distinct voice and we’re so happy with what he’s done with the tracks”.

Vocalist Robert Fenning also expresses his delight – “It has been great working with Dennis. He really gives the tracks an extra lift with his expertise. Plus it’s kind of ace working with the guy who’s name is on the back of nearly every CD in my collection!”

“We’ve been working on this EP for nearly three years”, says Alex. “Time has literally flown by. We all have our own careers aside from the band and it’s been difficult to balance our commitments at times. Also, our sound as a band has changed so much since we recorded ‘Spinning Vortex of Love‘ in 2011, so we’ve gone back and done a few re-records. The versions you will hear on the EP are also completely new mixes and won’t be available anywhere else”.

“It has been fantastic to see the EP come into its final stages”, adds Rob. “The tracks you hear on the CD really are a true representation of what Shaft of Steel is all about. We’ve really pushed the band in a new direction with the most recent rewrites. Each track is a lot more coherent and the whole EP has a much more dynamic sound.”

So what’s next? “We’re talking to a few labels”, says Alex, “We’ll see what happens, but I am very confident that bright things lie ahead for this band. Myself and Rob have such a strong writing partnership now. I’ve been working with him for almost ten years and you can really tell that we’ve matured so much as both musicians and songwriters. We’ve put a lot of painstaking effort and attention to detail into these songs, so we really hope that other people enjoy listening to them as much as we do”.

“I agree”, concurs Rob, “I really think we’ve got something fresh for people to listen to with the new EP. For me it’s the perfect mix of melodic, powerful, catchy and progressive.”

Shaft of Steel, the EP, produced by Alex Markham and mastered by Dennis Ward is coming in 2014. Yes, that date is a definite this time!

Shaft of Steel

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Come on and Drive

So, we’ve been pretty quiet of late, but fear not, for we are back with some awesome news. Our EP is finally at the mastering stage and we’re currently finalising the booklet design (with stellar artwork from Felipe Machado Franco) and liner notes before we go to press!

Oh, and here’s the final song from the EP – ‘Drive’. Well, actually it’s the first, if we’re going by running order that is. Some last minute inspiration struck and it ended up standing out as the opener by a mile. It’s funny how things work out.

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If you’re wondering what happened to ‘Lust and Power’, you’ll be pleased to hear that it will be available at a later date. We didn’t want to delay the release of the EP any longer.

You’ll be able to buy the CD directly from us and a digital download will also be available to purchase through all of the usual outlets. Stay tuned!

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Take one last breath and raise your hand, for this could be your final stand

No, not an ominous headline about the future of Shaft of Steel, but lyrics from ‘Steel Avenger (Stand Your Ground)’, the latest track to be completed for the new EP. Click on the play button below to hear it in full.

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Here’s a snap from rehearsal. The rest of us were enjoying a Pot Noodle while Adam was in his own little world bashing out Petrucci riffs. Business as usual then!

Photo 18-08-2012 12 57 02

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An update on the forthcoming EP

We are very pleased to present the artwork for our debut EP, drawn by none other than the amazingly talented Felipe Machado Franco! Felipe has been responsible for the album covers of loads of our favourite bands (Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Rhapsody and Gamma Ray, to name a few). We were delighted when he accepted the job and even more overjoyed when we received the finished product.

ShaftOfSteelCover-lowres

As well as featuring the two songs already available to stream on SoundCloud, the EP, titled simply Shaft of Steel, sees the return of fan favourite ‘Steel Avenger’ and the addition of a brand new track, ‘Lust and Power’. The full track list is as follows:

  1. Spinning Vortex of Love
  2. Steel Avenger (Stand Your Ground)
  3. Release the Lion Within
  4. Lust and Power

We’re currently seeking a label to work with on the release of Shaft of Steel. Any interested parties should get in touch through our contact form. Also, we’ll be shooting a video for one of the songs, but we’re not telling you which just yet!

Check out a brand new clip from ‘Steel Avenger (Stand Your Ground)’ using the player below.

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Releasing the Lion Within

We thought that it was about time we took a break from our hectic recording schedule to update you with the latest news from the Steel camp.

First off, we’ve been hard at work rehearsing in one of London’s top facilities, The Joint. We were all pretty amazed at how we managed to gel instantly as a band, given that all six of us had never played together as one group before. We can confidently say that things are looking (and sounding) pretty damn good for this incarnation of Shaft of Steel.

The second song from the EP is now available to stream in full from SoundCloud. We’ve been getting some really great feedback on this track, from all kinds of intriguing sources. If you haven’t done so already, you can check out ‘Release the Lion Within’ using the player below.

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You can also view the rest of the promo shots from our recent photoshoot by visiting our gallery page. We have some exciting news about the EP, but that will have to wait until next time… See you then!

The Steel

Shaft of Steel

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Introducing… Shaft of Steel v2.0

Happy new year from Shaft of Steel!

Over the last few months, we’ve been making some big changes. We’re massively excited about what 2012 has in store for us and we can now share some news with you.

We’re very pleased to announce the return of Garth Vickers to the drum throne of Steel. Garth is an accomplished drummer who has toured extensively with other acts and performed with us for a couple of years when we were based in Scarborough.

Ex-Acrimonious Anguish guitarist Adam Carruthers is making his formal debut with the band. Adam will be a familiar face to most people who remember our songs. It’s now 10 years since the Anguish formed as Acid Grave and Adam was present in the band from the start.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any more Steel-tastic, we’ve finally taken on a full-time keyboardist. We’re very glad to welcome Chris Smurthwaite (formerly of Sole Survivor), who will be enormously enhancing our live sound by bringing his keyboard wizardry to the Steel.

All three make fantastic additions to the band and we feel that this is the strongest line-up we’ve had to date.

More photos from the shoot coming very soon!

Alex, Rob, Andy, Adam, Chris and Garth

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