African Holocaust
Steel Pulse
July 12, 2004

Track list
  1. Global Warning
  2. Blazing Fire featuring Capleton
  3. There Must Be A Way
  4. Make Us A Nation
  5. Dem A Wolf
  6. No More Weapons featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
  7. Tyrant
  8. Door Of No Return
  9. Born Fe Rebel featuring Jukie Ranks
  10. Darker Than Blue
  11. George Jackson
  12. African Holocaust featuring Jah Pakoly
  13. Uncle George
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Steel Pulse, a fiery reggae band from the UK that has been nominated for a Grammy five times (winning once with 1986's "Babylon the Bandit"), are true legends who have been in the music game for almost thirty years by now. Formed at Handsworth Wood Secondary School in Birmingham, in 1975, they not only became UK's best, and most loved, roots band, but also were one of the few English reggae acts to gain respect in Jamaica. Steel Pulse took conscious reggae to punk audiences in the 70s, opening for British punk-rockers, such as XTC, The Police, The Stranglers and The Clash, when no one else would touch their controversial political craftsmanship. But once they grabbed the attention of music fans worldwide, they didn't let go, churning out 14 releases including their highly rated debut album "Handsworth Revolution", one of the major landmarks in the evolution of British reggae. The album was produced by legendary Marley producer Karl Pitterson who not only produced "Handsworth Revolution" but also their classic albums "Tribute to the Martyrs" and "True Democracy". When Marley died of cancer they were flung into the inevitable role of successor to Marley's musical legacy by many fans and critics. Such an honour became a burden as they subsequently struggled to find a formula for commercial acceptance. Varying failed attempts to find the magic crossover formula led to the release of too many disappointing albums.
And now there's Steel Pulse's conscientious new cd entitled "African Holocaust", luckily a return of sorts to the band's rugged roots. And it pays because this album is really good, actually it's their best since "True Democracy". Right from the start - "Global Warning" - it's obvious that they have chosen to treat their fans to a fresh roots sound (with wicked horns), which turns out to be great. The sound in combination with the band's political beliefs, expressed through thoughtful lyrics, makes that this cd brings us 'rebel music' par excellence. Vocally David Hinds is in very good shape and all of the songs included here are good to excellent efforts. Even the rendition of Curtis Mayfield's wonderful song "Darker Than Blue" - with additional lyrics that make a lot of sense - makes a good impression. It's one of our favourite tracks along with the dancehall flavored "Blazing Fire", the combination song with Capleton, "Make Us A Nation", "No More Weapons" (featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley), "Tyrant" (a deep reggae song with a heavy bass line), the afro-reggae tune "African Holocaust" and "George Jackson".
"African Holocaust" is a great album that will please many long time Steel Pulse fans as well as reggae fans in general.