Although I’m a fan of some the of the biggest bands in rock and metal history (Kiss, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc.), my all-time favorite singer is from a much smaller band from Norwalk, Connecticut called Steelheart. His name is Miljenko Matijevic (the name is Croatian if you’re interested, aka Mili, previously known as Mike). Holy cow Pooni! Are you nuts??? You are going to put this guy… that no one has heard of… over the likes of Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Ronnie James Dio, etc.???? Well… YES, I’m nuts….and YES, I am. Not only is Mili the best singer I’ve EVER heard live, but the songwriting and emotional vocal delivery is tops in my book.
Steelheart has a varied history. The band had a couple of hit songs in 1990 and then quickly fell off the face of the Earth in 2 years, due to some trials and tribulations that happen from time to time. Mili rebuilt the band for a stint in 1996, was involved in the movie Rock Star (playing the voice of Marky Mark Wahlberg) in 2001 and then returned to the rock scene for good in 2006. In 2010, Mili even did a stint being the lead singer for The Doors.
Through Worlds of Stardust by Steelheart (Released in September 2017 by Frontiers Records)
All songs written and produced by Miljenko Matijevic (track 5 written by Anthony Crawford and Miljenko Matijevic)
Guitar-Uros Raskovski, Kenneth Kanowski, Miljenko Matijevic
Bass-James “Rev” Jones, Sigve Sjursen
Drums-Mike Humbert, Randy Cooke, Jesse Stern
Piano-Daniel Fouche, Edward Harris Roth
Strings arrangement-Daniel Fouche, Glen Gabriel
The opening track of “Stream Line Savings” has a Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin vibe. Mili has never hid the fact that he is a HUGE Zeppelin fan. This song is produced well, Mili sounds amazing (at 52 years old, by the way…) and it quickly sends a message that we are a modern hard rock band that should be taken seriously.
“My Dirty Girl”, in true Steelheart fashion, immediately punches you with an awesome riff and the classic Mili scream at the beginning. Mili has always had a knack for creating emotion and setting the mood during the verse melodies and then building up-tempo aggressive chorus melodies. A day after hearing this song for the first time, I found myself humming it at work. Probably not super professional or appropriate humming a song called “Dirty Girl” at work… thankfully I wasn’t singing aloud. ?
Sticking with the Zeppelin feel, “Come Inside” is driven by a cool distorted dirty bass line and “My Word” is a song that could’ve easily been on their 2nd album Tangled in the Reins. Steelheart’s first 2 albums, Steelheart and Tangled in the Reins, are truly underrated gems. I encourage you to re-discover the songs “I’ll Never Let You Go”, “She’s Gone”, “Sticky Side Up” and “Late for the Party”. If you are a “hair metal” fan, you won’t be disappointed.
“Got Me Runnin’” and “My Freedom” are well written mid-tempo, straight ahead rock songs. Both songs have rock radio appeal and will sound great live.
“You Got Me Twisted”, “With Love We Live Again”, “Lips of Rain” and the closer “I’m So In Love With You” are four of the best ballads/power ballads written in the past ten years. WOW!!! Mili has always had a softer side and it’s nice to see the magic is still there. When the music is stripped down a bit, you hear this incredibly soulful voice that just oozes emotion. I want Steelheart (the band entity) to play live as much as possible, but Mili doing an acoustic tour would be AMAZING!!!!! That reminds me, check out his version of “Hallelujah” (the Leonard Cohen song). Bring the tissues, because it’ll make you cry…
There you have it. 40 minutes for your listening pleasure. My favorites are “You Got Me Twisted”, “My Dirty Girl” and “Lips of Rain”. The press release for the album says: “Steelheart is the brainchild of Miljenko Matijevic whose powerful voice and multi-octave range is the heart and soul of the band. Although they were lumped in with the glut of long-haired hard rock bands emerging in the early ‘90s, the band was always more forward thinking than their peers and the 2017 version of the band has a contemporary and edgy feel, while still retaining the patented powerful vocals of Miljenko”.
Rock on, Mili!! Drop the mic… Pooni out!
Buy: Miljenko Matijevic