Ruthless – “Discipline Of Steel” (1986)

Discipline Of Steel by Ruthless is an album representative of a specific style of heavy metal that only really existed in the mid-1980s.  Seriously, if you listen to this album you can immediately tell that it came out between 1984-1986.  During that time, there were a handful of North American bands playing a rough-and-tumble type of traditional metal that was jacked-up by elements of the burgeoning speed and thrash movements.  Jag Panzer’s Ample Destruction (1984) being a perfect example, and probably the best of the lot.  I’ll throw Hawaii’s The Natives Are Restless (1985) and Witchkiller’s Day Of The Saxons (1984) in the mix, too.  Think heavy Priest, but a little crustier, a little more rudimentary, and with a certain confrontational “more-metal-than-thou” stance.  Sadly, albums like these never caught on.  Maybe they were too heavy for the radio/commercial route and not heavy enough for the hardcore thrash fans.  Between the cracks I guess.

Discipline Of Steel came out on Axe Killer Records, a French label if you can believe it (great album cover by the way… ).  It was to be Ruthless’ last offering to the metal gods.  Discipline Of Steel was preceded by an EP called Metal Without Mercy in 1984.  (The two albums were both combined for a CD release in the ’90s.)

Discipline Of Steel opens with the title track, one of the album’s raging speed attacks.  This is one of the album’s strongest cuts in my opinion.  This one reminds me of something from Witchkiller’s Day Of The Saxons.  A couple of other decent tracks include the mid-paced bangers Another Day In Hell and Look Out.  The singer reminds of me of the guy from Witch.  (Hmmm… I guess it doesn’t help to describe an obscure band by referencing an even more obscure band.  I hate when people to do that.  Okay… let’s say he sounds like Vince Neil on ROIDS!)  My least favorite track is called Hardcore.  This one starts off with an ominous minor-key acoustic intro… and at this point I’m getting ready for something evil and EPIC…  but what do I get?  A silly song about banging some chick.  Kind of a let down there.  The intro was completely pointless.

Wait!  I’m not done yet!  There is one particular track on Discipline Of Steel that just slays!  Like a baseball bat to the dome, this thing CRUSHES.  I’m talking about Sign Of The Cross!  (Here the acoustic intro actually does give way to an epic, heavy, neck-wrecker.)  Easily the best track on the album!  Ruthless may not be the best band of the ’80s, but they definitely hit it out of the park with Sign Of The Cross!  My score: B-


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