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!