If there is anyone who could ever get close to the moniker of ‘The Human Siren’ like Bruce Dickinson, then it is the legendary singer of NWOBHM heavy weights GRIM REAPER, STEVE GRIMMET, who also sang for LIONSHEART and also sang for a brief period for one of my favourites, ONSLAUGHT. All classic british heavy metal bands. Despite being 57 years old and over 30 years of musical prowess and experience under his belt he still manages to defy his age and hit those high notes and octaves like as if it were his heydays. He is surely like a fine old wine, he can’t help but only keep getting flawless with every passing year. It’s interesting to see so many British vocalists have this thing in common, like Bruce, Rob Halford whose voice remains undeterred. Is there some kind of secret secluded only to British singers? I guess so. STEVE GRIMMET recently hurdled across a major event that rendered all his fans to feel sorry for him, ‘taking away’ considerably a significant part of him.
In January, STEVE GRIMMET had to go under the knife in an amputation surgery on his right leg below the knee. This happened when he was taken ill at Saturday night’s(Jan 14th) STEVE GRIMMET’s GRIM REAPER concert in Guayadil, Ecuador, after an aggressive infection spread from his toes up to the singer’s knee. Prior to this the singer had to perform sitting down on a chair at his Ecuador concert due to the infection. Millie, his wife, who took great care of him during this tough period commented, “Yesterday Steve had his right leg removed from below the knee. The infection was so aggressive it spread from his toes to his knee overnight. I’ve briefly spoken to him and he sounds in high spirits, laughing and joking. Hopefully he will start his journey home next week.” As soon as this horrific news surfaced, fellow musicians and fans started to pour in their help by starting a fund raiser campaign to lift off some load from Grimmet and his family, in what has been a life changing turn of events for Steve. The fund raising campaign is still going on, so if you’re a STEVE GRIMMET fan go ahead and donate whatever amount you please here. Steve is recovering very well and now plans to make a comeback supporting the new GRIM REAPER new album this July. What a true rocker in every sense of the word.
Now, let’s talk about this gem of an album, shall we? Interestingly, ‘Personal Crisis‘ was originally released a decade ago in 2007 via Germany’s ‘Metal Heaven Records‘. Now you might think I am stupid or ultra slow, cause who posts a review on the internet a fucking decade later, right? Hold your guns kids, here’s the crux, the album never saw a proper North American distribution due to some reason. So basically you’re gonna be listening to a decade young Steve when the album hits your nearest record stores on June 30th in the US. But who cares when Steve’s voice is age defying. No really! This finally has been made possible by Dissonance Productions, so if you’re a state side Grimmet fan, you better thank them.
‘Personal Crisis‘ is a very polished and mature take of a classic NWOBHM album. It is almost like someone took off the dusty looking old vinyl from back in the day and cleaned it to the extent that you’re convinced that it is a new one. Guitarist Ian Nash, bassist Richard Walker and drummer Pete Newdeck along with Steve Grimmet has wonderfully coalesced themselves into an integral unit in the making of this record. The album has been produced by Dennis Ward(Pink Cream 69). Clocking in 50 minutes and consisting of a good eleven songs in number, ‘Personal Crisis‘ is an extremely melodic and back to old school record. Starting the record off with their first song titled, ‘Karma’, you feel straight away that old school classic vibe, with the trumpet like tone setting things off. Sticking to the core of NWOBHM-esque music, the riffing is excellently done and is also groovy at some points. Sort of gives me the Accept feeling. Steve’s voice is still young as fuck, that is so evident right on the first song. Great opening track to the album.
Second track that turned me on was the third one, ‘Freedom’. The bass tone starts the proceedings off, only to be followed by probably my favourite, the heaviest, groovy and well contrasted riff to some of the other riffs on the album. I feel the solo could have been better, it sounded a bit sloppy to my ears but well could have been worse and I am happy cause the main riffing is so heavy you can’t just put your attention to any other ingredient on this song. Magnificent song and my favourite on the record.
Fourth track, ‘Lonely’ slows things down to a considerable extent as the song begins off with some exquisitely played piano keys. This one is rather a more mid/slow tempo song, rather a ballad which is very reminiscent of the 80s era and I think Steve might have tried to replicate it to great success and execution. Things now in this song get calmed down as you might feel battered already from the precursor of the songs prior to this one, which I think is perfectly placed on the track list, and also serves as a striking contrast to what you just heard on the earlier tracks. Give me groove and you can kidnap me easily, yes, there’s some grooves thrown in this number as well, as it fades away just like the song started with the piano.
“All right lads, buckle up and back to business”, isn’t this how your coach yells after you’ve had a breather. The next track is exactly akin to this, after a slow tempo ballad this is what you need to kick things into a frenzy. The fast NWOBHM-ish tempo picks up on this track titled, ‘Afterglow’ immediately. Although it is a bit stale lyrically and revolves round the the same tempo it began with, lacking some diversity it still is a decent mid album track.
So is ‘Personal Crisis‘ worth a decade wait for you North American fans? Definitely, yes! Is it good enough to get yourself a copy of it? Why not!? ‘Personal Crisis’ by STEVE GRIMMET is one of those records where you come to realise that veterans still haven’t lost it, just when you were thinking of the opposite. Especially when it is STEVE GRIMMET. Steve’s vocals on this record has been timeless and ethereal, the man sings like he is still in his 30s. From singing on a mid tempo range to those high scaled octaves, Steve’s vocals has shown a diverse range of capabilities on this particular record, and the guitars and drumming has been complimented perfectly as well. The only flak I’d point out is that in some sections of the record , the songs reach a stalemate. It gives you a non-virgin feeling, in the sense that the listener has come across some of the riffs and melody structures in the past. If you are a NWOBHM fan or just simply classic metal fan you will definitely agree and notice with me on this. Other than that it is one excellent record with subtle variance, like elements of power metal sprinkled in and from the likes of ‘Lonely’, a ballad, to fast and fist pumping ‘Enemy’, where a female vocalist rubs shoulder with Steve by the name of Joanna Ruiz, thereby setting a beautiful dual vocal harmony. The album also contains a cover of GRIM REAPER‘s ‘Wrath of the sinner’ as the penultimate track.
So, if you’re looking for some classic old school stuff you might wanna grab STEVE GRIMMET‘s ‘Personal Crisis‘. I would say a very well structured in musical terms, sounding massive where in some sections you can just sing along and headbang to the well executed rhythms. If you’re a fan of epic singers on all accounts, unabashed by singers not falling off the grid or just becoming another brick in the wall, which Steve is clearly not, then ‘Personal Crisis’ is a precious long lost jewel you might want to sink your fangs in and re-discover some good old GRIM REAPER. Cheers to NWOBHM!
‘Personal Crisis‘ track list:
2. Wait Forever
10. Wrath of the Ripper
Order your copy of ‘Personal Crisis‘ here.