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Album Review

By 1991, hair metal had become exactly what prog rock was before punk rock came along and put it out of its misery — a bloated beast, with very little originality (and up-and-coming acts merely copying the already established ones). And you could pinpoint examples of hair metal's last days to bands such as Danger Danger, Roxy Blue, and Steelheart, among countless others. However, there's no denying that Steelheart's singer, Michael Matijevic, was a technically gifted singer (who could do multi-octave vocal gymnastics with the best of 'em), the band's penchant for Ratt-like radio-friendly metal and cheeseball power ballads didn't exactly help matters. With grunge wiping out all the aforementioned hair bands in one fell swoop, Matijevic went back to the drawing board, and devised a different sound/approach for Steelheart's third release, 1996's Wait. While there's nothing musically groundbreaking here, there's no denying that Matijevic has toughened up Steelheart's sound on certain tracks, such as the grunge-like guitar work on "Take a Little Time" and "Live to Die," as well as a song that is best described as sounding like Alice in Chains meets Bon Jovi (!), "Ahh Song." But the group still has their eye on that big radio home run, as evidenced by the inclusion of another tearjerker power ballad, "All Your Love." Like many other one-time hair metallists who soldiered on into mid-'90s, Steelheart attempted to "stay current" with a tougher approach, which they accomplished to a certain degree with Wait.


Formed: Norwalk, CT

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Hailing from Norwalk, CT, Steelheart was one of the last hair metal bands to score a hit with a power ballad, just before Nirvana and their ilk exterminated the genre completely. Originally called Red Alert, the quartet (which included Croatian singer Michael Matijevic, guitarist Chris Risola, bassist James Ward, and drummer Frank Dicostanzo) spent most of the 1980s playing the tri-state area and honing an energetic act. After years of hard work, the bandmates headed west to Los Angeles, signed with...
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WAIT, Steelheart
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