without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
The power metal scene in America during the eighties was easily one of the best scenes around. These bands, whether it be Omen, Jag Panzer, Attacker, or Metal Church, were all capturing the catchiness of the traditional heavy metal acts around, but they also had a lot of faster material that was more akin to the thrash bands that began to sweep the world. Iron Cross is another one of those bands, though, these guys really stand out because of their underlying evil tone. Bands like Slayer and Kreator were innovating with their takes on brutality in the metal underground during 1986, but they didn't have that dark feeling that Iron Cross could seemingly conjure at will with nothing more than a few melodies, some occult song topics and some stellar vocals that all make their self-titled debut a masterpiece of the genre.
The album opener "Demon's Disciple" opens with some feedback and the eventual thumping bassline that serves as the prelude to a chugging riff that alone isn't anything special, but then the vocals come in. These are definitely not the kind of vocals that a typical power metal listener would be accustomed to, simply because they sound a little demented which adds to the creepy and sinister feel perfectly. The track "Bloodlust" is even crazier as the vocals are completely unhinged and the addition of sadistic laughter and slow, vile melodies makes for an extremely fun listen. "Dark Dreams" and "Mistress of the Dark" are two basic power metal tracks that don't stray away from the norm, but both songs still rule with an iron fist, the latter track being one of my personal favorite power metal tunes of all time (The catchiness is fucking ridiculous).
Along with the more upbeat power metal tunes and the more chilling material, Iron Cross shows off some of their versatility with the tracks "Demons" and "Fantasy World," both of which feature clean guitar passages and clean singing, which ordinarily would be completely normal, but in contrast to manic songs like "Bloodlust" and "Demon's Disciple" it's incredible to see the band slow things down for some more relaxing songs that are just as great as the other songs. Aside from everything already praised about this record, there isn't much more to say, except that even guitar virtuosos would drool over the lead work here. The solos are mindblowing, and the epic solos that serve as the ending to the track "Fantasy World" are masterful, which really reflects this work as a whole. Masterful.
"Mistress of the Dark"
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.