Iron Savior – The Landing
I know that for many people The Landing is a highly anticipated album, since Iron Savior has been around for quite a long time, and even once had former Helloween/current Gamma Ray guitarist and vocalist Kai Hansen. For me, this was almost just a typical album to review, as I had only previously heard their most recent album Megatropolis, and while that was a good album, I found it to be lacking something. It also doesn’t help that it was released the same day as two of my most anticipated albums, but I still knew I had to check it out.
After hearing their previous album and from reading a bit about the band, I learned expect plenty of heavy riffs throughout, sometimes inspired by classic heavy metal bands, and at other times more power metal-oriented. On Megatropolis, I thought these riffs were good, but eventually became too boring to be the sole driving point of an album, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much more melodic this new album is. Don’t get me wrong, the riffs are still there and still take up a big part of the music, but there are certainly some melodic sensibilities here that really add to the songs and make them much easier for me to get into.
It’s easy to see how Iron Savior has been influenced by the two bands mentioned in the opening paragraph. “Starlight” is a power metal classic with an excellent chorus, and feels like it could have been taken straight from a Gamma Ray album (actually, I sometimes even imagine Kai Hansen singing it). The faster songs are generally my favorites, with “Moment In Time” being an excellent example of the band combining the type of riffing they are known for with a nice melodic touch, and “Faster Than All” is just plain fun. The only faster song I’m not a huge fan of is “R.U. Ready” , mostly because I don’t like the lyrics (power metal bands going on about either heavy metal or rock just gets annoying). Even then, the song itself is fine.
On the heavier side of things, after that obligatory orchestral intro that almost every metal band seems to need at least one of in their career, “The Savior” strikes right from the start and is one of the most enjoyable tracks on the album. There’s also “Heavy Metal Never Dies”, which again has some embarrassing lyrics, but that damn infectious riff eventually made me like the song, while the guitar solo is one of the best on the album. Speaking of which, the band doesn’t go out of their way to be overly technical, and yet the musicianship is strong throughout, and all the solos are very good. The only song I can’t really get into is “Hall Of Heroes”, which sounds like something I’ve heard several times over, it gets boring fast. Even the lone ballad “Before The Pain” is very good, due to some emotional vocals.
But no matter what kind of song he does, at this point it seems like band leader and singer/guitarist Piet Sielck has a clear vision, and his band seems very confident in following him. It’s easy to tell this album is the work of a veteran band that knows exactly what it wants to do, and hasmastered its own craft. There is nothing terribly original here, but I doubt anyone expected that. They are as traditional a power/heavy metal band as you can get, and excellent at what they do. Naturally, Sielck is the exact type of singer required for this style to work, and while I know some people who can’t stand his voice, I think it’s a perfect fit and I like him quite a bit. He isn’t technically amazing, but he is very energetic and entertaining.
Honestly, I think anyone who’s been following the band much longer then me should have a fairly good idea of what to expect, as I can tell this isn’t the type of band to make more than some minor changes from album to album. The good news is, one slightly weak track aside, they have come up with an excellent album that is sure to please fans of both genres (though overall it’s slightly more power metal), and I’d say it’s about on par with the latest Helloween effort. I obviously can’t compare it against their discography, but I can safely say it’s much better than Megatropolis in pretty much every possible way.
Travis Green’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5
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