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Coldsteel: Old School New York Thrashers Return With a Vengeance

Troy Norr

Although most of the heavy metal community never got to know Coldsteel during their original run in the late ’80s/early ’90s, the band is still cherished by a small yet loyal circle of cultists throughout the globe.

Formed on New York’s Long Island in 1986, Coldsteel would eventually become one of the Tri-State area’s most promising acts of the nascent thrash scene of the period. The quintet would eventually release a demo in 1989 called Dead by Dawn that garnered excellent write-ups in the key metal magazines of the day. In 1990, Coldsteel’s Perfect Peace demo found the group harnessing the speedier side of their sound and focusing more on their songwriting chops, delivering bigger hooks and more socially conscious lyrics.

With buzz building, Coldsteel would eventually sign with Turbo Music, a German record label specializing in underground metal. Unfortunately, the company went under around the time the band’s debut album, Freakboy, hit stores. Coldsteel already had a European tour booked but with their label closing shop, the promotional trek never happened.

With the original wave of the thrash metal scene on its last legs, Coldsteel broke up soon after the release of Freakboy, an album that deserved much more. Fans of Practice What You Preach era Testament and classic Anthrax need to hear this album.

The good news is that Coldsteel just reissued a remastered version of Freakboy and have reunited to record a new EP called America Idle. Noisecreep grew up with Coldsteel frontman Troy Norr (also of the King Diamond tribute act Them) and caught up with the singer so he could fill us in on the band’s recent activities.

First things first, why did Coldsteel break up in the first place?

During the recording of Freakboy, the grunge scene exploded. Heavy metal was a tough sell. Coldsteel was down and out about the label [Turbo Music] shutting it’s doors due to business decisions that were made. With these feelings of depression coupled with not everyone being on the same page to write alike, Coldsteel disbanded.

Did you continue playing music after the band split up?

No, I cut my hair off, sold off every piece of equipment I had owned and didn’t sing a note with any group again for eight years!

Throughout the years, did you get asked about Coldsteel a lot? I imagine the Internet helped keep the band’s legacy alive.

Yes, from time to time I have been asked about Coldsteel from various fans. The internet and eBay has kept Coldsteel alive!

Battle Cry Records

Freakboy has just been reissued by a German label called Battle Cry Records. How did this project come about? Were you happy with the way the original pressing came out back then?

Facebook. A Coldsteel fan from Germany suggested I contact a few labels for a reissue which is exactly what I did. Battle Cry Records decided to release the reissue of Freakboy and Stormspell Records is releasing a Coldsteel demo anthology sometime this year. Freakboy was released the end of April 2012.

I believe I can speak for the Coldsteel members who recorded Freakboy in saying that we were not happy with the fact that the record label injecting the color pink into our band logo as well as the text on the record. Also, the color yellow was used for the 7″ vinyl as well as the CD EP. I have no idea why they did that but at the time the band members were just excited that our debut record was finally released so it did not bother us much.

Listen to “Truth or Dare” From Coldsteel

Did the reissue spark the current Coldsteel reunion? Who is in the lineup?

Yes, the reissues sparked the interest within me. I was looking for material to possibly include with the reissues and stumbled across five songs that were never recorded. They were on rehearsal tapes from 20 years ago. As I listened to the material I realized these five songs had a lot of potential. I contacted the last lineup for a reunion recording but it would never happen due to life’s difficulties getting in the way. So, instead of a reunion, we simply trudged forward to release the next chapter of Coldsteel!

3/5 of the members came from Them, the King Diamond tribute group I sing in, who at the time were writing and preparing to record a full length original conceptual project similar in the vein of King Diamond. Putting that project on hold, Coldsteel entered the studio in Jan 2012, for the first time in 20 years, to prepare for what would be the America Idle recordings. Coldsteel’s current lineup is: Troy Norr (vocals), Joe Shavel (guitar), Eddie Campbell (guitar), Doug O’Dell (bass), Hal Aponte (drums). Doug and Hal were both members of a progressive metal outfit known as Ice Age for about six years.

Watch Troy Norr Track Vocals for the Upcoming American Idle EP

Tell us about your upcoming America Idle EP. How much of the material is from the band’s original run?

The foundation of all five songs were from 20 years ago. However, they have all been changed, modified and sculpted into something more modern sounding. Everyone in this lineup have injected a little bit of themselves into this project. This was truly a team effort!

Can we expect any Coldsteel live shows in the near future?

If they will have us, we will play! There are rumblings of potential show dates in Europe once the product is released. If these shows materialize, Coldsteel will look to play several dates in the states as well.

Coldsteel’s Freakboy reissue is available now via Battle Cry Records and available at this link. Head over to Coldsteel’s official Facebook page for for more information on the band and their upcoming America Idle EP.

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