Philip Sayce: Steamroller

Pedal to metal.

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Not so much a steamroller, more a careering juggernaut as Sayce unleashes his fourth album in four years, barely eight months after the double-disc Ruby Electric collection.

But Sayce it seems has stuff he wants to get off his chest. He’s been touted as the next hot guitar slinger and Steamroller, like those before it, shows plenty of reasons why.

The title track does indeed roll inexorably towards you on a grinding Hendrix-style riff. But that’s just him revving up for his road trip across the great heavy metal riff valley, showering the route with overdubs, intriguing melodies and concise solos, pausing only for a couple of wistful songs and an ill-advised power ballad.

It’s a bracing ride, particularly when he takes an unexpected detour via Paisley Park, but by the end you know more about where Sayce has been than where he’s going. That needs to change.

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.