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I can't really understand people saying this is Iron Savior up to its old tricks again. This to me sounds like a somewhat reinvigorated Iron Savior unshackled from their rather lackluster space epic. Condition Red and Battering Ram were Iron Savior riding their motif into the ground with recycled riffs and melodies. Yes there were some moments of brilliance in them and the songwriting and leads were solid, but if you listened to them after the first three (as I often do) the repetition is obvious and mind-numbing. Thankfully, Megatropolis shows that they actually have some creativity left and can write new riffs and new melodies.
So the album opens up with a riff that does not inspire a lot of confidence sounding like many past riffs but then the song gives hints of Grave Digger's Heart of Darkness and Pete Sielck comes in with great verses and a solid chorus. But if that didn't convince you, Omega Man chimes in and it sounds nothing like the space operas of Iron Savior's past. While the rest of the song is high quality is really the chorus that stands out here. Sielck is great in it, but the credit mostly goes to that amazing under-chorus riff. Then again I really appreciate when a band does more than strum power chords under a chorus.
And the album really continues to pump out the goods with nothing being weak here. Yes, none of it is groundbreaking in the genre, but it is different than the Iron Savior that had become so predictable in the last couple albums. I mean Cybernetic Queen is an Iron Savior ballad that works which I don't think has been true since Break It Up off the first album. Or there is Cyber Hero which is Iron Savior with a side of humor, not something even hinted at before. All that said the final song could have been on any previous Iron Savior album, but even it is of higher quality than their latest material.
To be honest I think a huge part of my fondness for this album is Sielck who really steps it up here with more energy and some great verses to go along with his always superb choruses. He was really scraping the bottom of the bowl in the last couple albums and here he just nails it.
In summary, an Iron Savior no longer tied to some lame space opera opens up with some new themes and some great material.
Iron Savior, one of my all-time favourite power metal bands, have returned after 3 long years to bring us their 6th studio release, ‘Megatropolis’. One thing to know about Iron Savior, is that they have hardly changed their style since releasing their debut back in 1997. But in this case, that is a good thing. Iron Savior don’t need to change their style, as their riff-filled, fist-pounding metal anthems have made them so successful over the years.
Coming off the bat of arguably their best 2 CDs in their discography (‘Battering ram’ and ‘Condition red’), ‘Megatropolis’ was set to be the next top release in the same vein as those CDs. But unfortunately, ‘Megatropolis’ does fall short of those 2 awesome CDs, despite still being a very solid release. Musically, ‘Megatropolis’ is everything you'd expect from Iron Savior. Massive riffs, tinged with a thrash feel, blistering twin solos and the raspy vocals of Piet Sielck belting out those headbanging metal anthems. But I feel that this CD seems a bit uninspired, like they have simply gone through the motions on this one. Even though this CD is just as powerful as their others, I think that it is less energetic; a solid release but nothing more. There are no real standout and truly memorable tracks, like songs from previous CDs such as “Tyranny of steel”, “Break the curse”, “Warrior” or “Firing the guns”. The upside, however, is that there are no weak tracks on this release either.
The other thing which I consider to be part of this CD not being as good as the others, is with the lyrics in the song structures. Now I am glad that Iron Savior has fully moved on from their original storyline about the space battleship called the “Iron Savior”, which finally came to an end with the ‘Condition red’ CD, as there is only so much you can write about given that theme. On ‘Megatropolis’, it’s not the actual lyrics that are in question, it is how they have been structured into some of the songs. I guess this is another example of Iron Savior possibly just going through the motions and showing less exuberance than on previous releases. One thing that I was very impressed with though, was with the remarkable drumming of Thomas Nack. Nack is a very underrated drummer and on ‘Megatropolis’, he absolutely goes hell-for-leather, really one of his best efforts on an Iron Savior release.
Some of the more notable songs on ‘Megatropolis’ would include the mid-paced grinder “Flesh”, which has some of the greatest head-banging riffs on the entire CD; the speedy and melodic “Cyber hero”, which is your typical Iron Savior type track in the same vein as “Protector” or “Riding free”; and the crunching and galloping mid-paced rocker “A tale from down below”.
My choice for the best 2 tracks on ‘Megatropolis’, would be the thumping and melodic “Cybernetic queen”, which has a very catchy chorus and an overall 80s feel to it. And finally, the speedy and catchy “The omega man”, with its riff charged and double-bass fury.
Iron Savior fans should still blindly purchase ‘Megatropolis’ as there is still a lot to enjoy from it, despite it being not as good as their previous 2 releases; while Iron Savior newbies should probably start with something like ‘Condition red’ or ‘Battering ram’ before you listen to ‘Megatropolis’. Overall, this release is still a solid CD, worthy of the Iron Savior name, but as stated before, it is not their best effort and I hope that their next release brings back the exuberance and energetic feel that I am used to hearing.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com
German power metal, one of the most overrated genres in metal ever. Helloween, Gamma Ray, Savage Circus, StormWarrior, Masterplan, Freedom Call, At Vance, Brainstorm, Symphorce, Domain, Metalium, Blind Guardian, Edguy,... This list goes on and on. Why they are so beloved I do not know, it just goes beyond me. Some of those bands (like Freedom Call, Edguy, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian and Brainstorm) used to bring out some good material, but that period has passed. Even predecessors on the genre Grave Digger, Running Wild and Sinner have gone beyond their peak, and didn't stop falling since... There are only three bright lights in the German power scene: Chinchilla, Primal Fear and Rage. Though, bands like Iron Savior, Wizard and Rebellion (and probably a lot of smaller, lesser known bands whom I now forget) also can be counted with the better part of German power bands.
The reason why Iron Savior is being praised above all those other bands, is again being proven by them on their latest album. They just repeated the same old formula as they've been doing since '96, and they still know how to rise above average level. The main problem of German power is that or it sounds to poppy, or the vocals are just the same in every damn band. The same whining high pitched notes and overmelodic tunes keep on enduring from beginning to end (not high pitched like Ralf, I'm really emphasizing the verb "to whine"), wheredue you cannot seperate one song from another. With the voices of Ralf or Piet the intensity is already there even before the music is recorded. And ofcourse, the lyrical themes aren't so damn cliché, the guitar play is more raw and less polished, and above all: the total sound is less power and more heavy. For example the titletrack of "Megatropolis" (that has a lot in common with Rage songs). That's how power metal should sound like. A raw voice and rough guitar play, extremely headbangable. No time for stupid (and mostly shitty) ballads, just plain good power metal. The production of the album ofcourse is extremely good, but sometimes you can hear that latest refinements are adjusted by computer. It doesn't bother me, but it's hearable if you really look for it. In my opinion Piet has a very recognisable voice, and also a voice which I like very much. Raw, yet emotional, the perfect combination in power metal. A real favorite song I have not, but "The Omega Man" and "Megatropolis" possibly get closest. One pitty thing though... At the end of "Cyber Hero" there's this fucking irritating sketch that probably is meant to get more into the whole concept of the album, but damn, it tears the whole cd apart. Not a good idea, that dialogue...
But in the end Iron Savior did it again. A fine, heavy and enjoyable album that shows us that power metal can still be made the way it should be. If you like the genre, buy the album - you just need to.
Ten years to the day that this band first hit the scene with Kai Hansen and Thomen Stauch lending their musical credibility to long-time producer Piet Selick, the beast that is known as Iron Savior has been remarkable in it’s refusal to change with the tides of public opinion. At times this tenacity can come across as stubbornness, mostly because it stands alone aside other bands that decided to take either the symphonic, progressive, or electronic route in order to augment the genre. Iron Savior’s “Megatropolis” is yet another consistent offering that old guard Judas Priest fans and younger fans of their imitators will surely be pleased to sink their teeth into.
Although Iron Savior’s music has always been a consistent mix of hard-hitting power riffs, growled yet tonal vocals, fast drumming and catchy songwriting, there is a sense of differentiation between the last few albums and the earlier material. The influence of additional lead vocal work and songwriting by Kai Hansen and Jan Eckert gave the first 3 albums an additional icing on the cake that really put them over the top, whereas on the two previous albums there was a more disciplined sound under Piet’s strict songwriting formula. The result is a bit less lead guitar activity between the vocal and solo sections, a less dense overall atmosphere, and an extremely limited keyboard presence.
This album tends to reach back a little to earlier glory days, as was the case with “Condition Red”, resulting with the reintroduction of some similar themes. The title track features a chorus that is very similar to “Prisoner of the Void” off the Unification album, although the rest of the song features a large amount of Painkiller oriented riffs and less vocal harmony. “Farewell and Goodbye” sports the famous “Forces of Rage” theme from Unification during the solo section, which has been known to pop up from time to time in other releases. Throughout the rest of the album other snippets of Savior’s masterpiece 2nd album can be drawn out of the mix with relative ease.
Perhaps the lone exception to the nostalgia for 1999 Savior greatness is the Helloween inspired “Cyber Hero”, which has the most simple structure and qualifies for the catchiest power metal song I’ve heard that didn’t become comical in the process. The ending of the song, however, where Piet starts cursing in German at the video game because it shuts down before he can save is a true laugh fest. Other tracks such as “Flesh” and “A tale from down below” take the cake for the heaviest among Savior’s compositions, as well as a lyrical change of pace in favor of a horrific take on the Sci-Fi genre. Aside from this, everything is a consistent restatement of the exact same formula that has been heard before from Piet and company.
When looking back at the previous 5 albums put out by this fine flock of musicians, I’ve noticed a very gradual decline in quality since “Unification”, and it has continued to an extent here. It’s fun, it’s a truly great listen, but it doesn’t deliver that same magic that the band did during 1999-2001. It’s just a little too safe and it doesn’t contain the same epic concept that first drew me to the band. It will likely be next to impossible for this band to write a bad album, but unfortunately it seems less and less probable that this band will ever make an album that will kick my ass the way those albums did.
I have been a bit hesitant to own, yet even listen to an Iron Savior album without Kai Hansen. Iron Savior with Kai Hansen was one of the top power metal bands, how could they fair without him? Well since Iron Savior came out with a new album, I decided to check it out, and overall it’s not bad. It has its good moments and not so good moments.
When I put the album on, I thought I had put on Unification at first! The guitar riff is similar to the style on Unification. The distortion even sounds the same, which is cool because it gives the band its own distinct sign. The album continues in the fashion until we reach Cybernatic Queen. Like a brick flying at your head you are hit and remember how cheesy power metal lyrics can get. The song is about a cyborg whore basically, and how men can get trapped in her lust! What the hell? It’s the lyrics of a 80s metal band meets 2099. Anyway, the next bad mistake is to name the next song Cyber Hero. I think I’ve had enough cyber thank you!
On one hand, I see Iron Savior using the same formula they have used for years, which works. On the other hand I see an Iron Savior that is trying to be too much like other power metal bands. Some of the songs sound Edguy influenced while some sound like Blind Guardian. For example the vocals on A Tale from Down Below sound like Hansi is singing the song. Most of the other songs however show a decrease in Sielck’s style. When with Kai Hansen, Sielck used to whip out these matching screams, now he sounds guttural and scratchy almost. The guitars are pretty cool. They offer the usual pattern of structured power chords and insane solos, none really jump out at you –like old Iron Savior, but then again Hansen was writing that stuff so of course it was good.
Overall, it’s not a bad album. If you are a fan of Iron Savior you should get this. If you like power metal you should get this. The highlights are the fast paced Megatropolis and Running Riot, with the more modern paced Cyber Hero. Don’t forget the Primal Fear sounding A Tale from Down Below! It’s not best album of 2007, or the best power metal album ever – far from it – but it is ok for what it is worth.
German speed metal can be a pretty deriative genre, with every band leeching off other bands in the genre like parasites. It's a positively incestuous relationship that produces some very solid and fun bands, regardless of your reservations against what might be called 'generic.' Iron Savior was at the forefront of this scene with Kai Hansen at the helm until around 2001, when he left. They then produced the absolutely outstanding Condition Red and followed it up with Battering Ram, and now we have Megatropolis, their latest effort.
Well, the first thing I noticed as I spun this disc...was that Iron Savior had not changed their sound at all. Did we expect them to? No. Do they really need to? Not particularly. Leave progression to other bands. Iron Savior are fine the way they are with their rather gruff and angry vocals and sleek, spacey, crunchy riffs. German heavy metal bands are never known for their variety and innovative skills, and Iron Savior is no exception. This is just solid fucking heavy metal with balls for those who love to bang their heads and pump their fists.
With that said, the songs here are all badass riff-mongers that will instantly satisfy their fans with no trouble at all. "Running Riot" in particular is a fabulous song and probably the best on the disc, sporting some very nice solo/riff interplay in the middle of the song. Other highlights include the dark, grinding "Flesh", the masterful title track, and the soaring "Still I Believe." I must single out "Cybernetic Queen", though, for being a goofy 80s hair rock song that never gets out of my head, and also "Cyber Hero" for having some really fucking annoying sound clips for the last 30 seconds or so. Maybe it's just the promo version? But overall you can pick any track here and enjoy it, because none of them are absolutely superlative and none are drop-dead awful.
Overall, this is quite a solid album. I can't say much more about it than the fact that it's 'solid', though. It's just not as energetic and powerful as we're used to from Iron Savior, not compared to their early works or Condition Red. You'll headbang to this, but it just doesn't feel very inspired. The band seems to have been simply going through the motions here, and no band can completely avoid that. Recommended to Iron Savior fans, but for newbies to the genre...go get Condition Red first.
Iron Savior doesn't get nearly enough credit for the aggressive power metal they play. Always a shadow in the mighty Gamma Ray and Helloween, Iron Savior have put out just as many powerful and amazing albums as either. Megatropolis is justification to this claim.
Another amazing release, Megatropolis, holds its own with any power metal band. Its aggressive nature brings a little thrash tendency to so of the music but in the end its undeniably a solid and well written album. Very few albums get better towards the end and this is one of them. As the album continues the stakes are raised higher and higher.
The guitar work as said before does have a slight lean towards a thrash sound. A good solid basis on riffs helps with that sound. There are plenty of power chords to go around like any great power metal record but there are some killer headbangers in the guitar work. The leads are well complimenting to the structure of the music and both guitars are well adapted to fast and clean fret work. The solos are very much that Judas Priest trade off fashion where one guitar will solo followed by the second guitar and in the end coming together flawlessly.
The bass and drum work are well composed and work well with the music. While other power metal bands use the drums to keep the pace when the guitars do a melodic section, Iron Savior doesn't really need that on Megatropolis. The guitars are quick enough and the music isn't as melodic to require a heavy dependency on the drum and bass work as grounding. The bass work is good with the bass being the solid structure and foundation for a lot of the songs.
The vocals are a strong on Megatropolis. The darker tone to the vocals (as compared to most of the falsettos in power metal today) really fit well with the music. Having a second singer as a backing vocalist also adds quite a bit of dynamic to the vocal tracks. The singing is also quite varied on the album (there is even a section of spoken German...?) and will keep the attention of most metal fans.
There was a lot of speculation on whether or not Iron Savior would survive after Kai Hansen left the band in 2001. This has since been proven absurd with every release and Megatropolis is nothing different for the band. Another amazing and solid release that is most likely going to be overlooked.
Songs to check out: Megatropolis, Cyber Hero, Still I Believe.