Review | Durbin – Screaming Steel

Frontiers Music srl

US power vocalist James Durbin paired up with Stryper duo Robert Sweet (drums) and Perry Richardson (bass) plus Riot V guitar player Mike Flyntz in the formation Cleanbreak a few years ago. Their first album ‘Coming Home’ hit the jackpot for me. Produced by Alessandro Del Vecchio the four musicians paid tribute to classic US metal and received great reviews. I had expected that Frontiers Records would want a second album with that line-up but the reality tells us a different story. A new album is there but James Durbin teamed up with producer/guitarist Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere/Edge Of Forever), using the moniker Durbin for a fourth solo-album by James.


James Durbin stays true to his colours on ‘Screaming Steel’. He delivers ten songs that are pure power and heavy metal orientated bombshells where his high-pitched voice takes central stage. Yes, James has always been a fan of Judas Priest and their epic vocalist Rob Halford and if you did not know any better you would think that ‘Screaming Steel’ is something like a tribute to Judas Priest. One thing is for sure. James Durbin reaches heights with his voice that Rob has not even come close to in ages. The whole album is a power vocal exhibition extraordinaire if you ask me.


Next to Lonobile and the Italians Luca Birotto (guitar) and drummer Marco Sachetto also US bass player Mike Roberts is part of the musicians helping James out. For the guitar solos a bunch of guitar slingers have been invited including Moksha, Dylan Rose, and Taylor Washington. Not the most famous names perhaps but each of these guys do not mind some shredding acrobatics.


You better buckle up as ‘Screaming Steel’ is an album that does not let up, not even for one single moment. Personally, I would have liked an epic metal ballad to be present. As we know James can sing those type of songs as well, but the singer has chosen (or was it the label?) for a more one-dimension type of metal style that admittedly kicks ass from start until finish.


Aggression, energy, brute force. shredding and high-pitched are the key words for this album. James Durbin is a top-notch singer in this genre but there is more to his voice (as he proved with Cleanbreak) than is being demonstrated here. I find it a pity that not all aspects of his vocal capabilities are fully exploited on ‘Screaming Steel’. On the other hand I had a hell of a ride!

Release date: 16 February 2024



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