Volume I, Chapter 5: MIGHTY BATTALION, Battle 1: Icy Steel vs Skull Fist
Icy Steel - Me, River
According to their last.fm page, "[the] band borns officially in january 2005 (even if it existed from 3 years) from Stefano. The love for heavy metal imposed him from the beginning a rough sound but not for this less cured, with epic pieces in 80's style." While I'm not sure what any of this is supposed to mean, their song titles are even less comprehensible, and I'm still not sure if this song is called "Me, River" or "Me, Rever", because both spellings have been oficially sanctioned. Anyway, "Hail to the icy warriors from Sardinia, love or hate Icy Steel!" (To my knowledge, there is no ice in Sardinia, but that's a different story...)
Skull Fist - No False Metal
This is one of those loveably regressive heavy metal bands of our day who enjoy having a beer, fighting poseurs and singing about headbutting. Skull Fist are also so Canadian that you can just picture them having a dish of Kraft Dinner after one of their gigs before going to Tim Horton's to knock up some bilingual chicks. Good times...
Volume I, Chapter 6: AUGUST BATTALION, Battle 1: Wolf vs Virgin Steele
Wolf - Love at First Bite
These Swedish heavy metal warriors have been around forever, and have gotten about as big as you can get without actually becoming famous. They already sported an innuendo-laden werewolf image before Powerwolf made it even lamer, and combined it with some really nice hooks that even Grand Magus couldn't do much better. Much.
Virgin Steele - The Burning of Rome
If there be any glory in playing classic metal in 1980's America, away from the hairspray of Mötley Crüe, the trendiness of Anthrax and the attitude of Megadeth, in fusing Dio's keyboard melodies with Manowar's warrior image, and in sporting the most ridiculously explicit band name/album title/cover artwork combination in metal history, let it rest on bands like this - who went to Cheese and never came back.
Icy Steel? How the heck did someone come to the conclusion that Icy Steel was a good name for a band? Actually, come to think of it, who on Earth thought 'Skull Fist' was a good name, too? Skull Fist might have squawky vocals and squealy guitars, but Icy Steel (or 'Icy Fire' as the poll says) sound like they are taking themselves incredibly seriously, so they get my vote.
Wolf are reasonably harmless fun, whilst Virgin Steele ooze naffness in addition to sleazyness, a winning combination.
I like all these songs! I vote for Skull Fist (great riffing!) but I would not mind if its opponent wins. That song has a good vibe and I like the solo section.
Second pair: Virgin Steele! This is one of their better ones.
Icy Steel really try to sound epic af, but they just fail epically at everything. Even the solo sounds off. Skull Fist would actually be listenable, if they had a better singer. Bonus point for the title.
In the second pair, I though Wolf were wonderful cheese with a pretty nice little riff, and thus worthy of my vote, but then I heard Virgin Steele. No contest. Also, note the "Cheeeeeeeeeeese!!!!!" at 4:58 in the video.
Icy Steel sounds like a 13 year-old trying to cover Maiden and Metallica at the same time and then laying terrible Italian vocals over the top. I couldn't even get halfway through it. Skull Fist is just idiotically silly and cheesy, but at least mildly competent, so it gets my vote.
Battle 2 is much better all around. Wolf is solid, but Virgin Steele manages to cheese all over everything on so many levels.
Volume I, Chapter 7: UNBREAKABLE BATTALION, Battle 1: Omen vs Rhapsody
Omen - Battle Cry
I guess I have a confession to make: I'm probably a True Metal hipster. The reason being that I like Omen, a band that is impossible to like unironically. Even by mid-eighties cheese standards, these guys aren't cool, they have never been cool, they never will be cool, but they think they are. They are so desperately uncool that they are not "so uncool they're cool". And for that, I simply have to like them.
Rhapsody - Emerald Sword
Before LT's Rhapsody, there was a band called Luca Turilli's Rhapsody. Before Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, there was a band called R.O.F. You get the point, the punchline is that at some point there was a band simply called Rhapsody. The CHEESEVIVÖR takes you back to those days of yore, long past human memory, to bring you a band that has been ripped off more than any other in the realms of Cheese, the warriors of old that spawned the most unfortunate of all exploitation genres: Italian Symphonic Power Metal. Yes, they were the ones who started it all... do we deify them to the Cheese Heavens for that, or do we cast them into the deepest pits of Hell, where even Dante wouldn't set foot?
Volume I, Chapter 8: IMMORTAL BATTALION, Battle 1: Stormhold vs Freedom Call
Stormhold - God's Crusade
On their official YouTube channel, Stormhold claim they are a band founded in 2008 which has always had high ambitions. Ten years later, we have a band here that is so obscure that the only detailed information I could find on them is on their official YouTube channel. If they fell short of their ambitions as a major metal band, can they do better as a major Cheese Warrior band?
Freedom Call - Fairyland
If you find it hard to get over the fact that this band has an album called Stairway to Fairyland, it might even be more difficult to swallow the fact that this is where the former members of Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and Iron Savior go to die. And this is the band that frustrated Sascha Gerstner so much that he left saying that he would never play in a metal band again, only to join Helloween a year later. Striking story, no?
Wow, Icy Steel is bad. They are really bad, with little redeeming except some OK guitar work. Whereas Skull Fist is an absolute master of cheese, and actually pretty well known in these parts. Skull Fist.
Wolf isn't so bad, but they don't feel like a contender, either. Virgin Steele, however...damn, this band could go all the way. That's pretty great cheese, huge chunks of glam and power all mixed together into a beautiful provalone. Virgin Steele.