Toledo Steel – Heading For The Fire (Dissonance Productions)

Steel’s association with traditional heavy metal stretches back decades.

The Staffordshire band of the same name almost signed a game-changing deal with Neat Records in 1981 after bursting onto the bullish NWOBHM scene. 

The previous year Saxon’s Wheels Of Steel and Priest’s British Steel had jostled for position as metal’s most coveted release.

Agent Steel enjoyed a famous four-year tilt at the top in the mid 80s.

And the LA metallers released No Other Godz Before Me earlier this year.

In fact, steel has been synonymous with scores of metal bands for more than 40 years.

And in 2021 it’s still a name that resonates with the burgeoning NWOTHM community.

That’s thanks, in large part, to Southampton crew Toledo Steel.

Theirs is a sound that’s as abrasive as it’s ambitious.

And on latest long player Heading For The Fire, the band’s potential explodes into punishing, proven quality.

Toledo Steel hit Rich vein of form

Frontman Rich Rutter is as metal as they come…comfortably segueing from Dickinson to Dio and every storied metal screamer in between.

Toledo Steel’s singer sets out his stall on thumping opener On The Loose.

But his versatility is laid bare on the conceptual set closers Rituals By The Firelight and Last Rites as Rutter threatens to give Geoff Tate a run for his money.

Elsewhere, relentless axeman Tom Potter does the job of two, or possibly three, men as he lays down molten riff after molten riff.

There must be pressure on metal’s new breed to pack the stage with more than one six-string speed king.

But Potter is Smith, Gers and Murray all rolled into one as he comfortably navigates his way through Heading For The Fire’s more flammable moments.

Heading For The Fire or heading for the top?

Toledo Steel have always sounded like a band on the cusp of metal greatness.

And with this uncompromising return to the NWOTHM fold, Rutter and co. have never been more ready to ascend to the next level.

This week’s stint on the road with label mates Seven Sisters and Eliminator is a golden opportunity to make the momentum count.

And surely mid-set fist-pumper No Time To Lose says it best of all?

Toledo Steel’s time is now.

Heading For The Fire? More like heading for the top.

Read our exclusive interview with Toledo Steel frontman Rich Rutter here