Steel Kingdom’s music has been reviewed by publications and websites across the globe.
Several are listed below, along with links to the original postings.
“My Illusion” CD review by Jim Gustafson (USA)

The Kingdom has come!  And it’s cold, hard STEEL.  With their third release, My Illusion, Steel Kingdom offers a multifaceted taste of thinking-man ’s metal.

Musically, My Illusion is a pulse-pounding jolt of aural caffeine.  Sure, Steel Kingdom dutifully tithes to the metal church: lead guitarist Mike Caputo deftly plays scorching solos that run up and down the neck of his axe, drummer TK Kennedy keeps the songs moving forward with a relentless beat, rhythm guitarist Jeff Cummings and bassist Christian Pellegrino provide a rock solid foundation for Caputo ’s fireworks, and vocalist Nancy Halligan delivers the message in no uncertain terms.  But there’s more to this record than meets the ear.

Let’s start with Halligan’s vocals.  Resisting the temptation to mimic classic screamers like Brian Johnson, she instead spends the bulk of her singing time in the lower range.  The result is hypnotic… rather than making the listener brace themselves for an onslaught of upper-register shrieks, Halligan draws them into a welcoming conversation between friends.  Make no mistake about it, Nancy can soar.  When she lets loose (like she does in the chorus of “Led Astray”), you feel like you are taking flight along with her.  Nevertheless, her strength is in her restraint.  She clearly understands that if you want to get someone’s attention, whisper.

Meanwhile, Caputo and Cummings trade frontwork like two hands of the same virtuoso.  Yes, the liner notes list Caputo as “lead guitar” and all of the solos are credited to “Mike,” but Jeff offers a lead-like setup to each of Mike’s workouts, and displays plenty of fast-fingering himself throughout the record.  This isn’t Lennon and Harrison – with clearly defined roles from which the players never stray, it’s more like Richards and Jones – with the players slipping into and out of the spotlight, depending on the needs of the song.

Not content to merely provide a base of operations for Caputo and Cummings to fly from, the rhythm section of Pellegrino and Kennedy spend time of their own muscling their way to the focus of the soundscape.  Ever-present with his tight bottom line, Pellegrino stays right in lockstep with Steel Kingdom ’s signature uber-syncopated backbeat.  Like a great umpire, the highest compliment one can pay a great bassman is to say that you don ’t notice them.  That is, they don’t overtly stand out.  But if they were absent, there would be a glaring hole in the listening experience.  Pellegrino fits the bill here.  The band doesn’t ask him to play any Entwistle-like runs, but they DO insist that he drives the songs rock-steady.  He delivers.

And Kennedy… it’s a wonder that this guy’s heart hasn’t exploded!  Beyond the usual metronomic pounding of quarter and eighth timed beats, TK takes the concept of metal drumming to the next level.  As if to say, “Welcome to the new millennium,” Kennedy plays like a 21st-century robot – a machine with a soul.  Consider that, on any given song, TK contributes the following:  a) he relentlessly lays down a steady beat for his bandmates to build from;  b) he drives the stop-go-stop-go sound of Steel Kingdom with a razor-sharp edge;  c) he brings an additional layer to the beat by adding in countless rolls and fills to spaces that mere mortals would have left blank;  and, d) he finds the opportunity to slip the odd percussion instrument into the mix ( “more cowbell,” indeed!).  How many separate rhythm sections exist in this guy’s brain?

There are pleasant surprises here… sharp-eared listeners will recognize nods to other bands as diverse as Rush and The Revolution.  And the aforementioned percussion goodies from Kennedy (like the bell that slips in on “I Reveal”) evoke a smile from the listener during an otherwise serious, introspective exercise in self-examination.  As well, for those who might think that Steel Kingdom is a one-trick pony, take note that My Illusion features a respite of sorts from the hard-driving offerings of the bulk of the record.  Right in the middle, track five gives the listener a chance to catch their breath with the melodic “Passive Restraints” – Could the song’s title be a bit of clever wordplay?  That remains for songwriter Cummings to know and the rest of us to find out.  Cummings further flexes a bit of “departure-from-the-norm” muscle with the delicate acoustic guitar work that shows up as an intro and then again later on “Isolation.”  For a moment there, I closed my eyes and saw Nancy Wilson playing the lead-in to “Crazy On You” and I was sixteen years old all over again.  Thanks, Jeff.

Yep, the music on this record knocks you out with a kick to the head and then brings you back around for more with gentle slaps on the cheek.  But it takes two to tango… Words AND Music.  The lyrics to My Illusion bear a discussion here before we close.

The liner notes give Caputo all of the composition credit, so I will apologize in advance to Mike if I miss the boat with these interpretations.  Still, his message seems pretty clear, to me anyway.  He envisions a world where most of the population buys into the “get the latest thing” shill of the controlling corporation(s) – hook, line, and sinker.  It’s a dystopian world where the occasional lone cry against the establishment is quickly squelched.  But, as is the case in the familiar examples before this record’s retelling of the story (Metropolis, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, THX 1138, and Logan’s Run – to name a few), the shiny corporate culture is an illusion.  In reality, the world is polluted and the lot of the typical person is drudgery.  And God help you if you manage to wake up from the dream.  You’ll feel alone in your knowledge of the truth… and you won’t be sharing that truth, lest you be silenced.

Sounds like a bummer, doesn’t it? Well, don’t get too down just yet… there IS a message of hope.  It’s not the physical conclusion of the record’s journey, but rather, it is the logical mirror of the record’s main content (“the rest of the story,” if you will):  “How Far We Fly” is our chance to escape this world.   Just as the heroes of the earlier incarnations of this morality play manage to find peace and even like-minded compatriots who also “woke up,” we can do the same.  We’ll have to cast off all of the trappings of the world we are leaving behind – let go of everything – to ensure that nothing holds us back.  But in the end, IF we try, only we can truly know how far we can fly.

Wow.  That’s heavy.  Tell you what, just play the record.  Dig the songs.  Appreciate that Pellegrino and Kennedy can really pound the beat and that Caputo and Cummings give terrific grindage and wails.  Let Halligan draw you in with a whisper.  Maybe you’ll hear something different?  Either way, it will be worth your time.

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Growing up a teenager (and that's several decades ago), I already was hooked on the almighty forces of US Metal ranges from Bay Area Speed / Thrash Metal over Classic Heavy / Power Metal - be sure, I won't forget the old school Hard Rock scene either! Take it for what it's worth but for me - Because of my everlasting passion for the scene, there will be no Metal like US Metal to me! I tell you about this due to my next review has everything to do this type of Metal also - I'm really pleased spreading the words of Steel Kingdom, a strongful quintet from New York!.  

''Reforged / Refined'' must be their second effort ever released - speaking for myself, this album is also my first touch with these guys. Found via Myspace and I'm a lucky bastard they'll give me the opportunity writing down the review this great output, released in 2008 actually. Steel Kingdom is quite unique in its genre - okay, I'd like to define as US Metal in general but their music show some branches to other genres too. As I heard on the album, slices from the world of Prog, Sympho Power Metal are audible for sure. Steel Kingdom isn't a band that follows the mainstream or modern ways of Metal... no way - their stuff is for real, sounds totally underground and I'm feeling good all about that! Maybe they'll never catch an international deal to expand their fanbase world wide but their style of music is only made for all those die-hard US Metal maniacs appear with a burning passion for this scene!  

Remarkable for Steel Kingdom is the band's strong line up featuring awesome musicians... watch out for the unique voice of Sean Williams first of all, searching for a great US Metal shouter, you've got one here. Axeman Mike Caputo offers venomous guitar tricks over the entire album... worshippers of axe shredding tactics are warned. TK Kennedy's drum tactics to sound devastating (this guy is the owner of a real unique style of drumming, watch out for it!). The rest of the line up looks like: Steve Mieszala (keyboards), Herb Renke (Bass). Consisting out of well trained musicians, I've really have a good looking eye for Steel Kingdom. In other words, very tasteful for all those having a special connection with US Metal.  

First up is the song 'Lost' and hits me in the face right away - Progressive / Symphonic Power Metal the American way, own styled / characterised - great song!  More up tempo rhythms appear during the song 'The Ties That Bind' can be announced as... first pure US Metal thrill. With a very early eighties touch comes 'Believe' and to hold on the musical varieties up high they surprised me with a song called 'The Storm In Me'... Hard Rock spiced with fusion elements, check it out and enjoy! Okay, more blasting powers during the instrumental 'There Is A Time' - another kick in the head. 'Beyond The Veil' delivers nice and tender emotions... listen closely and be a witness to great acoustic guitar use. 'Tempted' and 'Face Your Fear' seems to be the right ones to make an end of this US Metal journey.  

Released through Prism Break Records, an independent label owned by the members of SK themselves - I'm pleased with a product like this. I just want to say it once again - this is a typical example of how Underground US Metal would have sound. I assume that efforts like this are not made for the mainstream minded... if you're a fan of bands like Aspire, Mindwarp Chamber or Troll, go check out Steel Kingdom too via their official homepage:  or via myspace at: after all, convince yourself how good these guys really are!  

Good point to mention is that the band is pretty busy completing new songs for a follow up. They've planned to enter the recording studio later on 2009 in hope to unleash a brand new work somewhere in 2010. Good to know for me and be sure - the new Steel Kingdom album is already on my list of forthcoming albums to review.  MY POINTS: 88 / 100

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Here is an American group of the State of New York offers his second album in the bag very European. To begin, here are some influences claimed STEEL KINGDOM, METAL CHURCH, RHAPSODY, SLAYER, RUSH, DREAM THEATER, or SONATA ARCTICA MOTORHEAD... You better understand my apprehension to be precise in my analysis!

STEEL KINGDOM is a group of Heavy Metal that's for sure. It uses sound voluntarily "stripped" or "old school" which recalls the top 80 in the Underground. The musicians are very good and engage in more complex compositions (on a traditional Heavy Metal). There is a ballad dispensable, two titles very (too much for me) progressive, singing is in a "spice" that the family j'assimilerai "Marc Shelton," even if Sean WILLIAMS has his own voice. The production is good and mixing. There is a keyboard that accompanies each title with varying degrees of intensity: a keyboard, rather like the dark mood of the album. For my personal note it took me five good taps to enter the atmosphere and the universe of the group and that the securities Lost, The Ties that bind, Believe, calm The Storm in me, Price you pay, and Tempted Face your fears people that I prefer (because more Heavy Metal).

I recommend this album to open more of you, especially for those who are departing fans porcupine Heavy Metal (for its change of pace, his hand sometimes psychedelic limit). The rhythm can be Thrash, Heavy or program in the titles. Some solo passages remind me destructured by far one Culprit (Guilty as Charged 1983) and more current. Moreover, the drummer, KENNEDY TK is really a great drummer that you feel very involved in the construction of the securities. That's to this description Reforged Refined which leaves me a mixed feeling, there is so that I can say I love, but it lacks the little thing that will tip the balance on the right side. I would simply say that STEEL KINGDOM has a real identity but still needs to refine his style to convince the greatest number. Do you think you are fast on their Myspace!

Style: Epic Heavy / Thrash  •  Prog sometimes Artistic Part: 3 / 5  •  Interest to Fans of 80's Heavy Metal: 3 / 5  •  Interest in traditional metal fans in general: 4 / 5  •  RASKAL The French Warrior gives as note: 15/20  •  RASKAL gives as Objective note: 17/20

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“Reforged/Refined” CD review by MetalGerald  (Germany)

It makes me glad to review here the second release of this Rochester/NY based quintett. Of course the group didn ´t changed their style. Similar as on their impressive debut album from 2004 joins the group again the traditionell US-Metal style. Maybe the only difference is that some of the new numbers tendence in a more US Power Metal oriantated dirrection. Of course there are also changes in the line up too. From the old line up is only the charismatic vocalist SEAN WILLIAMS and his companion TK KENNEDY on the drums still active. The new guitarist which kicks the band to another limit is MIKE CAPUTO. On the position of the four strings agitates HERB RENKE. Also new is the addition of a keyboarder. But no fear STEVE MIESZALA does his job decent. Remember I wrote above the band is in the US-Metal / Power Metal circle. So was and will it be by STEEL KINGDOM !!! So let ´s start fo focus our attention on the new album. I remember as I watched in the past the cover of the debut I couldn ´t imagine that behind this unspectacular picture hides an US-Metal band. Now on REFORGED REFIEND didn ´t made the group the same mistake again. One look at the artwork and there will be no more questions about the musically dirrection. The message is now clear. The opening track LOST starts theis recording with a lot of energy and place the band somewhere between the fine borderline of US Metal and Power Metal. Better couldn ´t start this disc. THE TIES THAT BIND is a catchy timeless US-Metal runner. An absolute great midtempo running number follows with BELIEVE. Oh yes, there returns similar as in some great tunes from the debut a little bit the feeling of the famous old SAVATAGE. At the borderline to US-Power Metal acts the fast arranged FORTUNE TELLER. In the same dirrection strikes then the superb arranged cut TIME. The following slow arranged THE STORM IN ME didn ´t con vince me at all. Some boring choruslines and cheesy accords let me skip fast to the next one. Uhh, of luck find the boys back to the path of their real talent. Powerfull US Metal !!! By the way this tune with the title THERE IS A TIME is a complex and overhelming instrumental. But be sure that this one will keep your full attention. In other words it works brilliant. But no, what goes on with BEYOND THE VEIL follows a fragile little ballad. Of course this one isn ´t bad but I awaited another metal blast. After this delay convince finally really another great midtempo US Metal track our lost souls. This one firms under the promising title PRICE YOU PAY and could be describe as a phenomenal mix of the old SAVATAGE / LIZZY BORDEN. Especially the famous and tecnical on high standard celebrated guitarwork by MIKE CAPUTO made this cut to an outstanding adventure. Another great monumental midtempo grinding number with epic undertunes follows with the title TEMPTED. The mystic feeling inside this composition is really all the running time mysterious. US Metal to the maximum delivers us FACE YOUR FEAR finally too. At least rise this piece of blistering metal once again to a top number on this good release. My only desire for the future is that the band continues constant in their style at this high level. No more fillers like THE STORM IN ME and the next release will be a real killer. You can check out some snipnets and infos inside or at their regular website under and perhaps also ordering infos at their company too. By the way the album is also into the distribution of . I ´m not sure if the band still sells their good debut album. But maybe it´s still available too. So don´t miss it to complete your collection with another collectable diamond. article by Gerald Mittinger
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