STEEL ASSASSIN - War Of The Eight Saints DLP
STEEL ASSASSIN - War Of The Eight Saints DLP
STEEL ASSASSIN - War Of The Eight Saints DLP
STEEL ASSASSIN - War Of The Eight Saints DLP
STEEL ASSASSIN - War Of The Eight Saints DLP

HRR 125, limited to 500 copies, 45 rpm double vinyl, heavy gatefold cover, 150 x red/ yellow blend vinyl + 350 x black vinyl

John Falzone - vocals
Mike Mooney - guitar
Kevin Curran - guitar
Phil Grasso - bass
Greg Michalowski - drums

-Curse Of The Black Prince
-Hill Of Crosses
-Sword In The Stone
-Merchants Of Force
-Bloodlust Quest
-Victory (Instrumental)
-War Of The Eight Saints


When “War Of The Eight Saints” was originally released on CD only in 2007 (via Sentinel Steel) fans were stunned! They did not expect such a perfect piece of high quality US Metal from a band that in the past had only managed to release one track on a compilation album way back in 1985 (namely "Executioner" on “Metal Massacre VI”). So technically speaking, “War Of The Eight Saints” is the proper debut album by Steel Assassin. Unisound/Sonic Age released a compilation CD called "From The Vaults" some years ago and "Hellfire Forged" (put out by High Roller Records in 2009) consisted of old numbers recorded with the band’s new vocalist John Falzone. So does this make “War Of The Eight Saints” the first official studio album by Steel Assassin? Bassist Phil Grasso reckons so: “That's correct, because ‘From The Vaults’ was a collection of demos. They were not recorded with the intention to be released. They were quickly recorded to send off to record labels. “War Of The Eight Saints” was recorded as an official release. I don't even remember when I entered into the contract with them.” Surprisingly, the bassist of Steel Assassin is able to confirm that “From The Vaults” was actually a legitimate release: “The Unisound ‘From The Vaults’ was legitimate in that a contract was signed and I was paid for it. Remember, the original ‘From The Vaults’ was released by me on my GME Record label, the same label I released both my Madd Hunter CD’s on. The contract with Unisound was to include a re-release of my Madd Hunter CD ‘Silence Of The Lamb’ which was actually bootlegged by Unisound after they didn't want to pay me for that release, and it was bootlegged by them under the title ‘Raiders From The North’. But they did pay me to release ‘From The Vaults’. I didn't have a say in how it was to be released, but I also didn't ask for a say. I figured if they were paying for it, let them do what they wanted.”
Before "War Of The Eight Saints", High Roller did release "In Hellfire Forged" on vinyl. Was the band surprised about how good the album was doing? Phil Grasso: “None of us really know much about the revived vinyl collector scene. I don't know if any of us even has a record player. But it's cool to see our recording on vinyl. We come from the LP/8-track era. As to how it's doing, you'd have to ask Steffen. But I guess if it didn't do well he wouldn't have wanted to do more releases with us.” His colleague Kevin Curran on guitar adds: “We were pleased with the results. With ‘Hellfire Forged’, we were going for a more raw, unpolished sound. We didn't want it to sound like ‘War Of The Eight Saints’. Most of the feedback was positive, but we would have liked to see greater sales numbers, who wouldn't?”
Maybe Steel Assassin will achieve better sales figures with their new studio effort as "War Of The Eight Saints" is a very strong album! I take it that the press reactions were as overwhelming as the feedback from fans? Phil Grasso confirms: “Yes, it has been well received. Obviously, there's big differences between the vocal style of our old singer Doni, and our present singer John. Some fans have different preferences regarding vocal styles, but the record has done very well.” Kevin Curran thinks so too: “We were very pleased with the reviews of that record. We worked hard on it, and loved every minute of it.”
When "War Of The Eight Saints" was released on CD via Sentinel Steel in 2007, some people could not believe the fact that there was a new Steel Assassin studio album out on the market. For many, it came totally out of the blue ... Phil Grasso explains the evolution of the album: “Yeah. What happened was, I've been involved in the underground scene since '97 when I formed my label and released my first Madd Hunter album. The other guys didn't really know anything about the scene in Europe. In 2004, I started to see bands on our level getting small deals and getting to play some festivals in Europe, which was something we always wanted to do. So I asked the guys if they might want to get back together and see if we could write some new Metal tunes. I said if we did and they turned out O.K., then we might have a chance to finally get a deal and maybe a few offers to go over to Europe and play. And Lo and Behold, that's what happened!” Kevin Curran, founder of the band, adds: “For us it was long overdue. Re-forming Steel Assassin was more about writing new material than anything else. More importantly, it was about writing new material that represented the kind of Metal we really wanted to play.”
The epic title track “War Of The Eight Saints” clocks in at nearly 11 minutes. However, Phil Grasso does not think it’s a key song for the album: “No, not really. It's not like the first song we wrote was the title track. Kevin was already reading/researching the thematic events that most of the songs were based on. But the first song we wrote for the CD was ‘Hawkwood’, and the rest soon followed ...”
Steffen at High Roller Records is putting out the album as a double lp (running on 45 rpm) to obtain the best possible sound quality. Sonically, "War Of The Eight Saints" is also really great ... Phil Grasso reflects: “O.K. Like I said, I'm not too well versed in the vinyl scene, but I have heard that. The other thing is, the ‘War Of The Eight Saints’ recording is around 65 minutes. Considering that the maximum running time of a standard album is 44 minutes, that would leave a lot of silence on a regular sized double LP, so I guess it works out great!” Kev is also proud about how the production of the album sounds: “Rich Spillberg form Wargasm produced and mixed the record. He crafted the sonic quality of the record very well.”
On "In Hellfire Forged" a brand new track called "Breakout At St. Lo" was included. Have the guys written any more new songs? Can we expect yet another new Steel Assassin studio album in the near future? Phil nodds: “Yes, we have written more brand new songs for a brand new album. The songs are about battles/events surrounding the World War II. It will be called ‘Metal Of Honor: WWII’. We plan on going into the studio in May 2011, and hopefully get it released in the autumn of 2011.”
"In Hellfire Forged" and "War Of The Eight Saints", both album titles do carry references from the bible. Is that where Steel Assassin get some of their inspiration for the lyrics from? Kevin says no: “’In Hellfire Forged’ was not derived from the bible at all. We thought the title metallically appropriate to tag all of our older songs that we first gained notoriety with. The ‘War Of The Eight Saints’ is an actual historical event that occurred prior to the Italian Renaissance. Most of our material is inspired by history or mythology. The album is based on the English mercenary Sir John Hawkwood, who fought in and around the time of the ‘War Of The Eight Saints’.” Phil Grasso thinks about it a bit differently: “Well, Kev wrote all the lyrics for ‘War Of The Eight Saints’, except for ‘Barabbas’ which I wrote, and wrote it a long time ago in '84, by the way. For myself, yeah, a lot of my lyrics deal with mythological and biblical references. Kev and I both came from Catholic schools where we got a lot of biblical education. And ironically at our high school we also got a great course on Roman/Greek mythology, so I have to credit our high school education for giving us the influences.” Kevin explains the title of the album in more detail: “’The War Of The Eight Saints’ (1375–1378) was a war between Pope Gregory XI and a coalition of Italian city-states led by Florence, which contributed to the end of the Avignon Papacy.”
It is said that Steel Assassin formed around 1984? When they started out, is it fair to say that their influencs were almost soley British/European (and not American)? From 70's Hardrock bands like Thin Lizzy and UFO to the N.W.O.B.H.M. and upcoming Euro Metal outfits like Accept? That’s what I wanted to know from founding member Kecin Curran. Here’s his answer:” We actually formed in 1983 as pretty much a N.W.O.B.H.M. cover band called Assassin. So yes, absolutely! The N.W.O.B.H.M. was a huge influence on us.”
Matthias Mader