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Consisting of 4 songs, I primarily looked for this in search of their cover of the infamous Judas Priest song, The Hellion/Electric Eye; being one of my favorites from the legendary band and knowing how well Iron Savior does at creating awesome speed/power metal I yearned to hear the cover. Right from the get go I noticed how great Piet Sielck does as usual on an Iron Savior record with vocal duties. Obviously no Rob Halford he still does a spectacular job making it his own song with passes with flying colors doing as well as anyone could ask for mimicking Halford. Being the highlight on the album Electric Eye is a great cover of a legendary band and Iron Savior hits the nail on the head with everything from the notable The Hellion intro to the awesome melodic solo.
The rest of the single consists of a Krokus cover, Headhunter, which is another classic cover that Iron Savior kicks ass with all around the block. Showcasing a memorable solo that shreds my ears off each time I listen, obviously better than the original! You’ll be yelling “Headhunter!” before you know it listening to this; and check out the awesome high note Piet manages to pull of at the end.
Never Say Die and the title track are songs that are to be found on the album Dark Assault also being Kai Hansen’s last time with the band. Always a highlight on any material he records with Hansen and Sielck do an awesome job on guitar duties with speedy and tight as ever guitar riffs that in traditional Iron Savior fashion stick to classic heavy/speed metal roots. Both tracks are excellent giving an insight to the next album, both are also probably the highlights off that album. I challenge you not to sing along with the title track! Both are tremendous attempts at continuing the Iron Savior tradition of classic and powerful metal with excellent musicianship. I strongly recommend finding this for the Judas Priest and Krokus covers alone as Piet and gang do a great job; if the covers were on the subsequent full length Dark Assault, this would be an unnecessary release, but instead they opted with a different Priest cover, so I've Been To Hell is worthy in your collection.
Following the pinnacle of their career thusfar in Unification, and a rather impressive live/mini-studio album in Interlude, Iron Savior gives us a very tasty appetizer to their 3rd studio release. Much like the single that preceded Unification, dubbed Coming Home, this one gives us 2 tracks from the following studio album, and a Judas Priest cover.
The first thing to note here are the line-up changes that have occured since the last full length studio release. In 1999 Dan Zimmerman was one of the most in demand drummers in the genre, and participated in the recording of 3 full length studio albums by 3 separate bands (Gamma Ray, Freedom Call, and Iron Savior). Obviously juggling 3 seemingly equally successful projects is not something that can be maintained for a long time, so Zimmerman's departure is understandable. His replacement, Thomas Knack, is another drummer who has played in Gamma Ray and is equally as competent behind the kit as his predecessor. The other change is the addition of guitarist Joachim Kustner. Although he doesn't do any lead work on this single, he will later become the primary soloist and the replacement of Kai Hansen, who would depart after the release of Dark Assault.
The two tracks taken from Dark Assault are selections that are comparable to those that were selected for the previous single, highlighting the more up tempo cookers that dominate 75% of Iron Savior's studio albums. An interesting thing to note is that both singles consist of the 1st and 4th tracks of both the studio albums they are associated with. I've been to hell is uncut, and cooks with the best of them. Piet gives us a very memorable solo, and the thundering rhythm section pushes the song along with the same Judas Priest feel that has always driven them. Never Say Die has been shortened, and lacks a rather intriguing intro, but this takes nothing from the song as such intros are more suited to function as the overture to a full length album. The high points here are Piet's riveting vocals and the crazy leads that he and Kai trade during the solo section. Nothing short of brilliant.
The Judas Priest cover that occupies track 3 is a remake of The Hellion/Electric Eye. Much like every other Judas Priest cover Iron Savior has recorded, it is extremely faithful to the original version, although Piet's vocals provide a big enough contrast to make it distinct.
The final track on here is a cover of Krokus' Headhunter, and is my favorite track on this release. The primary point of interest here is the rather amazing vocal performance of Jan Eckert, who I believe actually manages to shoot his range up higher than anything I've heard Kai Hansen do in the early vocal work with Helloween. Piet's vocal efforts here are also quite good, providing us with yet another memorable duet, as highlighted by every Savior release from the classic era , spanning the period from the first album release up to Dark Assault.
If you are a fan of Iron Savior, or if you enjoy classic NWOBHM music, this is well worth adding to your collection. It gives you both 2 classic songs from the 80s glory days of heavy metal, and two brilliant hommages to the style that can also be found on Dark Assault. It may be a bit hard to come by, I myself was only able to obtain this CD from a second hand dealer.