Iron Savior – Rise Of The Hero
Reviewed by Arno Callens
If the Germans perform half as well in the upcoming FIFA World Cup as they do in (power) metal this year, every other country can just about pack in its silly shoes. Primal Fear, Van Canto, Persuader, Stormwarrior, Freedom Call and Vanden Plas have already earned their names in the annals of the year, and now we can add Iron Savior to that ever-expanding list. A list that may very soon feature the likes of Axxis, Sinbreed, Brainstorm, Gamma Ray and Edguy as well. Not to speak of rumored returns from Orden Ogan, Mob Rules, Dark At Dawn, and Blind Guardian. Oomph.
For a fan of Teutonic power and prog like me, it’s a great year to live in. Iron Savior has always stood as one of my favorites and the kind of band that never got the proper attention. Rise Of The Hero comes hot on the heels of The Landing, an album that put the savior machine back into our lives, but didn’t kick up the kind of dust that Condition Red and others once had. Fair enough, I’m comparing with a classic of the genre here and a peak that may never again be reached. As long as Piet Sielck and co. give it their best shot, though, you won’t hear me complaining. Not over the howling of “WHEN THE LAAAST HEEEROOO WILL DIIIEEE!” at least.
Because “Last Hero” is one gamma cannon blast of an opener. Think “Titans Of Our Time” and shiver. I’m not sure where the whole “Iron Savior” concept went, but this does feel like the ballsy space opera that Iron Savior rose onto the scene with. For a clearer reference see “From Far Beyond Time”, which features all your favorite Iron Savior-phrases including “for the freedom and for the world”, “to protect and to serve”, and of course, “savior machine”. From Star Wars we go to Lord Of The Rings with more sword-and-sorcery inspired titles such as the titanic “Thunder From The Mountains”, surely-a-Stormwarrior-cover “Iron Warrior”, and the somewhat disappointingly plodding “Dragon King”.
Iron Savior clearly gets its inspiration from just about anything. Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill-diptych forms the background of “Revenge Of The Bride” and its “DEADLY VIIIPEEERS!” makes us want to watch the Uma Thurman-led splatterfest once again. For a worthy sequel to their Seal-cover “Crazy”, the Germans went to “Dance With Somebody” from someone whose name I had to Google (Mando Diao it says). Meetings between heavy metal and pop are always a chunk of fun and this is no exception. “The Demon” in turn makes us sad in thinking Sielck is no longer a part of Savage Circus, as its grand ominous tone and “Evil Eyes”-echoes prove how much of a force the singer/guitarist was in that band. On the uplifting side are the come-on-get-up-and-go-do-stuff “Bleeding Heart”, and every heavy metal powered man’s new anthem, “Fistraiser”.
All in all, this feels like the most complete Iron Savior record in quite some time. The guitar crunch could not be mistaken for anyone else’s, Sielck’s vocals deservedly step forward from the backings of such foster bands as Mercury Falling and – what’s in a name – Mindfeeder, and his production that those bands shared in will always remind us of Iron Savior first. Rise Of The Hero is everything its title implies: a rise, heroic, a conjunction, and an article. OK so maybe not “everything”, but ENOUGH.
4.0 // 5