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Rise of the hero
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Ltd. Edition Bonus Track
Voilà trois ans que "The Landing", septième album des allemands d'Iron Savior, a atterri dans les bacs. Fort des lauriers alors récoltés tant cet opus de Heavy Metal avait su se parer d'habits de lumière mélodiques, les teutons nous proposent fièrement aujourd'hui un "Rise Of The Hero" espéré comme un petit frère de l'essai suscité. MusicWaves.fr / Pour fans de SAVAGE CIRCUS, BLIND GUARDIAN et GAMMA RAY. Edition digipack limitée avec 1 bonus track.
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Iron Savior continues to step out of the Helloween/Gamma Ray shadows with this album, and they also continue to move away from the science fiction conceptual elements that trademarked their earlier releases. With Rise of the Hero, we’re getting a very heavy yet still highly melodic brand of power metal with some blazing speed and headbanging intensity. It’s actualy quite reminiscent of the classic Somewhere Far Beyond/Imaginations From the Other Side Blind Guardian sound, which is not a bad thing at all. Part of that is Piet Sielck’s vocals, which have some of the same gruffness that Hansi Kursch has.
While the whole album has a very consistent sound musically, the themes are pretty varied. Fantasy seems to trump sci-fi this time around, with songs like “Thunder From the Mountains,” “Iron Warrior” and “Dragon King.” There are also some old school metal anthems like “Burning Heart” and “Fistraiser” to get the blood pumping. There’s even a song about the Kill Bill movies (“Revenge of the Bride”), which has to be the first Tarantino-themed power metal song ever. The album’s standout track though is the melodic, soaring anthem “Last Hero,” which you can tell instantly will be a staple of the band’s live shows for years to come. The only odd moment is the band’s rendition of the pop song “Dance With Somebody,” which isn’t bad, but even “metalled-up” just seems out of place.
Rise of the Hero is another first-rate album from a band that has more than earned a spot in the top ranks of the power metal genre. It’s already a contender for best power metal album of 2014, and given the number of other high quality power metal albums released already this year, that’s saying something. Obviously long time Iron Savior fans need to get their hands on this album right away, but Rise of the Hero should satisfy almost any fan of power and traditional heavy metal. “Raise your fist and set your spirit free!”
Edition Notes: The limited edition version of Rise of the Hero comes in a digipack and features a re-recorded version of “I’ve Been to Hell” as a bonus track.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this CD by the label for review
Listening through this album, I was immediately taken on a ride stretching back to my late teens and early 20's, when the greater majority of the music I listened to was metal. Heavy metal, thrash metal, some extreme metal, hair metal...just about anything with a metal tag added to the description of the music was sought out, inspected and fairly often listened to with a great deal of interest. 20 years ago I could have pinpointed just about every nuanced difference in the material of this album directly back to a specific band and probably to a specific album as well. Many years and lots of music later I'm unable to do exactly that, but that this is familiar sounding music is without any doubt at all.
Power metal is a description I have seen thrown at this band on numerous occasions, and I guess that is the best general description of the music. Galloping drums and bass are rather central characteristic traits here, a driving and energetic undercurrent beneath everything else, with occasional lapses into more frantic, hammering escapades when the band hits the pedal to the metal. Tight, compact yet edgy guitar riffs are placed on top, and the band are clever in alternating between drawn out majestic riff textures, grinding riffs, compact riff walls and some instances with more of a chugging, insistent guitar riff construction leading the way, and the addition of occasional guitar solo overlays in the vocal passages is a nice touch. Instances of bass and drums supporting the lead vocals in a more sparse arrangement another nice variation thrown into the blend of course.
While I can't truly say that there's a massive amount of variation at hand, for those who listen just about only to music of this kind the variation will be regarded as massive though. We have intense creations of the kind that reminds me of Helloween's debut album "Walls of Jericho", mid-paced creations with more of a typical and arguably more generic power metal sound, and occasional lapses into more of a distinct 80's heavy metal sound closer to the likes of Manowar in overall sound. A more epic, atmospheric laden style is explored on Dragon King, a creation that should fit quite nicely before or after Black Sabbath's Headless Cross on a playlist, and just about the only slight misstep for me was Dance With Somebody. A cover tune from what I understand, and due to the way the chorus has been put together one with a pop music origin to my guess. The verse section of this one functions rather well in an atmospheric laden hair metal kind of way, but the chorus section is of the kind that literally shouts that this is NOT a metal song.
This is a good album though, even if the material is familiar from the opening sounds of the atmospheric opening sequence Ascendence to the dying final notes of Fistraiser. Well performed and well produced songs see to it that all the songs are pleasant enough founded, and the subtly raspy, powerful lead vocals of Piet Sielck combined with the quality mix and production does elevate the total experience up to a higher level. If I should utter one negative word, then it would be that the chorus sections of all the songs don't have to be of an anthem-oriented, singalong nature. Oh, and we should probably forget about the lyrics of Fistraiser as well, as they would make a Gorgonzola turn green of envy due to the extremely high cheese content, of the kind that just becomes too much for anyone that have become old enough to have and enjoy sex.
If you enjoy your heavy metal and power metal, you like bands that look to the 1980's as the main source of musical inspiration and explore this type of music with a lot of care, affection and and ear for quality, then Iron Savior's "Rise of the Hero" is an album you should investigate. While it does explore territories rather well known, it does so with something of a swagger, as one might expect from a band that both know and truly love the music they create and explore.
My rating: 78/100