With 'Swansong', it became glaringly obvious that Billy Boy was beginning to (ahem) "steer" away from his grindcore roots, though one could probably argue for the win that he began to do that shortly after the release of 'Symphonies of Sickness'. It would be a while before the sinister urge came upon Mr. Steer, causing him to once again lift up and hold high the great 'metal of death' and inflict both woe and wonder upon the denizens of Planet Earth.
Enter the aptly titled 'Surgical Steel'. 20 years after the release of 'Heartwork' and it would seem that only two of those have passed, leaving 1996's 'Swansong' reduced to a memory of supremely vague proportions.
One thing that I was worried about before entering into the aural confines of this album was just how much leftover pseudo-rock riffs from 'Swansong' would make their way into the equation. Thankfully, the number is surprisingly and considerably low. In their stead there is no shortage of the type of rhythmic endeavors that decked the halls of both 'Necroticism...' and 'Heartwork', though there are moments on this album that give those albums a run for their tamales in regards to limp-wristed, over-melodious guitar heroism. Despite this, I would have to deduce that 'Surgical Steel' is far less catchy as its two closest predecessors, 'Swansong' and 'Heartwork'. As odd as it may seem, 'Heartwork' had far more "snap" to it in terms of what I could imagine actually obtaining a fair amount of airplay (of course in reality, that was barely the case).
A few months back I read an article somewhere with Jeff Walker stating that Bill Steer would be returning to a more prominent role, vocally. Well, if this is indeed the case, then he must've got the Jason Newsted treatment during the '...and Justice for All' sessions as I cannot make him out anywhere on here. Oh well.
Overall, 'Surgical Steel' is a pretty decent album and if anything, it goes to show you that not all comebacks are worthy of the trip to the sewer via toilet bowl.
Welcome back, lads.