If you’re addicted to traditional Power Metal, you’ll definitely love the new Iron Savior album.
No one knows if Germany is going to win the 2104 World Cup in Brazil in a few months. However, if they play only half as amazing as the new releases from many Teutonic Heavy Metal bands, I’m pretty sure they’ll make it at least to the final four. After the sonic extravaganza we’ve already had the pleasure to enjoy this year from bands like Primal Fear, Axel Rudi Pell, Vanden Plas, Van Canto, and even Caliban (and there are many others, but I just can’t list all of them here), here come Piet Sielck and his mates from German Power Metal band Iron Savior with another damn good traditional Power Metal album, Rise of the Hero, the eighth full-length studio album in their solid career.
I must admit it’s hard to find any signs of innovation in the whole album, but remember we’re talking about POWER METAL here, a genre where basically no creativity is necessary in the making of a great album, and besides, it’s not an item requested by the diehard fans at all: we just want some heavy riffs, fast solos and sing-along chorus while we enjoy a beer and bang our heads with our friends at a concert or festival anywhere in the world.
In order to warm up their fans for some pure Power Metal, the band offers us the good intro Ascendence, full of “spaceship” effects and other interesting elements. Then it’s time for the real party to start with Last Hero, a song that couldn’t sound more traditional with its double bass and addictive chorus, which simply means it’s awesome, and Revenge of the Bride, a very Gamma Ray-like track (maybe as a tribute to his friend Kai Hansen, who was with the band from 1996 to 2001?) with direct riffs and drums.
The electricity continues with From Far Beyond Time, which starts with a nice riff before turning into another traditional fast Power Metal tune the likes of Blind Guardian, especially the singing and backing vocals, and Burning Heart, with its astounding rhythm, awesome raw bass lines, and a chorus that is perfect for those famous “Oh-oh-oh!” moments when played live. By the way, the video for this track is really funny: how did Piet find so much time to sing the whole song inside his car? Was the traffic so bad he couldn’t move for almost 5 minutes? Anyway, it’s for sure one of the best songs of the album, if not the best.
For the ones that love that insanely fast Power Metal from the 80’s, Thunder from the Mountains is absolutely mandatory in your playlist: it has the same kind of punch found on Helloween’s classic Ride the Sky. But if you prefer those songs that are made for banging your head and playing some air guitar, you’ll love the great Iron Warrior and the following track, the not so amazing Dragon King, with its 100% Manowar-ish lyrics.
The next song was supposed to be just a bonus track, but the band liked the final result so much they decided to make it a regular album track, according to Piet himself: Dance with Somebody is a cover to Swedish Rock band Mando Diao’s hit, and I guess I don’t need to say which version is better, right? The following track, Firestorm, is a good song, but it lacks the same energy as the rest of the album and it falls flat after a while; the same happens with The Demon, a semi-ballad that doesn’t exactly match with Iron Savior’s style. The last track of the album, Fistraiser, puts things back where they belong, and if you don’t see yourself in the lyrics, I’m sorry, but you’re not a true Heavy Metal fan. Finally, if you purchase the special edition or the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll also get the 2014 version for Iron Savior’s old tracks I’ve Been To Hell or Mind Over Matter, respectively.
The beautiful album art by Colombian artist Felipe Machado Franco, who has worked with many other Heavy Metal icons such as Blind Guardian, Rage and Iced Earth, couldn’t represent better the music in Rise of the Hero. In other words (and I may sound repetitive here), it’s pure Power Metal, something the talented Piet and his band have managed to do extremely well since the formation of Iron Savior, and we can happily rest assured it’s something they will keep doing in the years to come.
Best moments of the album: Last Hero, Burning Heart, Iron Warrior and Dance with Somebody.
Worst moments of the album: Dragon King, Firestorm and The Demon.
Released in 2014 AFM Records
1. Ascendence (Intro) 1:28
2. Last Hero 5:00
3. Revenge of the Bride 4:35
4. From Far Beyond Time 5:17
5. Burning Heart 4:39
6. Thunder from the Mountains 5:08
7. Iron Warrior 4:41
8. Dragon King 5:43
9. Dance with Somebody (Mando Diao cover) 3:55
10. Firestorm 4:58
11. The Demon 5:02
12. Fistraiser 4:40
13. I’ve Been To Hell 2014 (Limited Edition) 4:04
14. Mind Over Matter 2014 (Japanese Edition) 5:34
Piet Sielck – vocals, guitars
Joachim “Piesel” Küstner – guitars, backing vocals, additional lead vocals on “I’ve Been To Hell 2014” and “Mind Over Matter 2014”
Jan-Sören Eckert – bass, backing vocals
Thomas Nack – drums, backing vocals