Iron Fire - Revenge 3.5/5

Reviewed: 5-26-06





Tracklist:

1. Wings of rage
2. Iron head
3. Metal messiah
4. Whirlwind of doom
5. Savage prophecy
6. Fate of fire
7. Stand as king
8. Brotherhood of the brave
9. Alone in the dark
10. Mindmachine
11. Icecold arion
12. Break the spell
13. Gates of cybertron (bonus track)
14. Odinís call (bonus track)


This is the 3rd CD from this Danish band, and the good news is that itís a solid release of traditional power metal, and, if not spectacular or wholly originally, it is a definite improvement from the bandís disappointing sophomore effort. In 2000, the band released their debut 'Thunderstorm', full of the youthful promise and naive charm that is hard to overcome, rather standard European power metal that was well done, with a significant amount of Running Wild influence that was quite enjoyable. However, in 2001's 'On the Edge', the bandís release was surprisingly disappointing, essentially bringing down their existing style with a mixture of mediocre hard rock influences that did not suit the band, nor singer Martin Steeneís voice. However, in the hiatus since that last CD, Steene released 2 increasingly solid and unique melodic metal CDs with the Mercyful Fate remains of Force of Evil, leaving the promise that Iron Fireís eventual return would be a lot better.

While not nearly as uniquely effective as the last Force of Evil CD, 'Revenge' returns and does offer solid, well done middle of the road European power metal. Itís good to hear the songs that incorporate some of the Running Wild influence, a melodic styling thatís not frequently heard. Steeneís somewhat laid-back metal voice is well done, but not likely to please those whose tastes run to piercing histronics. The music is solidly produced, well played, but as a whole, nothing so unique, powerful, fast, or aggressive that itís going to blow you away. The better songs are a delight, however, including the dynamic opener "Wings of rage", and surprisingly, the bonus tracks on the digipack edition, "Gates of cybertron" and "Odinís call", which are as good as any on the CD and could have replaced a couple of the weaker and more pedestrian tracks on the CD proper. After 3 or 4 listens it becomes definitely satisfying for those who enjoy bands like Running Wild, Majesty, Wizard, etc.

And yes, like those latter 2 bands this CD is, shall we say, somewhat rife with what have become the cliches of true metal, the Norse mythological ones of which are still welcome to me, but the more plodding "we are metal cliches" are less welcome now. (Donít get me wrong, when metal was in its darkest era, bands were denying being "heavy metal" with an anti-vengeance, Manowarís classic live concert and its unfettered embrace of "true metal" was an endearing godsend. But at a certain point, metal lyrics are most effective singing about compelling subject, not about metal itself, especially after the 100th such anthem.) "Metal messiah" and similar tracks walk that road of somewhat predictable material, not only lyrically but musically, and the lyrics are full of the now 3rd generation Manowar copies (or hommages, depending on how you generous youíre feeling), with a nod to Manowar with "Whirlwind of doom" (see Manowarís "Warriorís prayer") and tunes like "Iron head".

I guess the good news in all that is that the band has not lost the easily dissipating naivete which made their debut CD great, and this CD ultimately improves on that with more polish and a deft touch, and certainly is miles ahead of the disappointing 2nd offer. Steene seems quite content to leave some of the more effectively original elements of his Force of Evil collaboration behind, however. Whether you will love the band for almost consciously keeping that charm, or for limiting themselves by not trying to create a CD that even within the power metal genre is a bit more innovative, or inspirational, is a choice up to you. If picking it up, however, the digipack version is highly recommended, as may be little, if no extra cost, while including a couple of the best songs on the CD.



CRAIG




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