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Power Metal for those who love it! - 82%

Agonymph, January 16th, 2007

Martin Steene is a man for whom I have nothing but respect. Okay, his band Iron Fire did nothing earth shattering in the past, but he was doing exactly what he wanted at quite a young age and that was creating old-fashioned Heavy Metal. In Force Of Evil, he showed what Mercyful Fate could sound like if they actually had a good singer and when all of his bandmates abandoned Iron Fire, he did exactly what he had to do: he gathered a new lineup around him.

Now, there is 'Revenge', the first product of that lineup. And it need to be said: Steene (also the man who writes all the songs) should be proud of the result! 'Revenge' is the best album of the Danish band yet. Okay, there are some parts that are just too cheesy, but Steene knows how to be cheesy without letting the quality of his songs suffer from that. Unlike Manowar or any of those millions of Helloween-clones.

What is it that makes this album better than ninety percent of all the other Power Metal albums then? Well, first of all, this album contains a lot of variation. 'Metal Messiah' is, while cheesy, an irresistable slow stomper and lots of songs have a - for Power Metal standards - slightly progressive and surprising structure, instead of focusing on 200 BPM double bass frenzies. Besides that, Steene can actually sing and his band is very capable. The perfect recipe for a tasty dish of traditional Metal.

Iron Fire knows how to deliver me an old-fashioned dose of Metallic euphoria, so much is clear when opening track 'Wings Of Rage' decorates my living room for the first time. Blazing vocals, pounding drums and raging guitars. And, inevitably, an incredibly infectious chorus. Listen and smile!

A special mention goes out to 'Ironhead', easily the best Power Metal track I have heard in a long time. The song just breathes the atmosphere of longing for a better world and that sends shivers down my spine. The vocal melodies (those in the verses seem to be inspired by Rhapsody's 'Wisdom Of The Kings') are irresistable and so are Kirk Backarach's beautiful guitar leads. Beware, this song forces you into euphoria and locks you there!

Less successful are the ballads 'Ice Cold Arion' and 'Savage Prophecy'. Though the songs aren't that bad (the heavier parts of the latter are very good actually), there are much better ballads. The "goosebumps level" is never quite reached. Both are much more listenable than the horrible 'Angel Of Light' on the debut album 'Thunderstorm' though!

Highlights include the almost-Thrasher 'Fate Or Fire', the bone crushing closing stomper 'Break The Spell' (great vocals!) and the relatively heavy 'Mind Machine'. The choruses to 'Brotherhood Of The Brave' and 'Alone In The Dark' are a tad annoying, but the other parts of those songs are só good! And why the hell is 'Gates Of Cybertron' only a bonus track on the digipack? It's definitely the best track on the album, apart from 'Ironhead'. Fast, heavy and great leads, in the vocal as well as the guitar department.

Iron Fire will most likely not turn any people into Power Metal with 'Revenge', but people with a heart for this genre, even if only just a little (like yours truly) can buy this album blindly. I'm sure you won't regret it. And to Martin Steene...nothing but deeply meant respect!