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Fair effort - 59%

Human666, February 22nd, 2016

'Battering Ram' is a decent power metal album with some unoriginal moments that occur too often. The title track, which is also the best track in this album, has an almost perfectly identical chorus to Blind Guardian's Into the Storm, which kind of disappoints me every time I listen to this track, because it surely has some catchy riffs, and it ends up sounding almost like a rip-off in the chorus. 'Heavy metal powered man' also begins with a riff that sounds too similar to Iron Maiden's Two Minutes to Midnight and really makes me wonder if they haven't noticed such a prominent resemblance before releasing this one. Besides that, this album is mostly okay, although quite uninspiring.

The production is quite good. The guitars have a solid, crunchy tone that serves well the fast paced aggressive riffs. Piet Sielck has a ballsy baritone voice and a nice timbre that compensate for his somewhat limited vocal range. The drumming is powerful and dynamic yet somehow conservative. The songs are mostly going through the motions yet ends up sounding enjoyable.

Overall, there's not much to dissect in this album. Iron Savior are mostly keeping it safe in familiar territories and eventually succeeding in creating a fair album that can fit well in any hard rock pub or gym session, but nothing more than that. There's nothing epic or exciting in this album, yet it is what I would describe as 'happy go lucky', harmless power metal. The catchiest tracks in this album are probably the title track (which has a somewhat problematic chorus as I've already mentioned), 'Stand The King' and 'Wings Of Deliverance', which both have some groovy riffs and enjoyable vocal melodies. Anyway, fans of power metal will probably fond the better moments of this one.

Power Metal The Burns The Flower - 90%

Flamos, January 16th, 2009

Want some great speedy power metal? Well, you’ve come to the right place. “Battering Ram” by Iron Savoir is simple, but extremely effective. Nothing here is original, but that’s not important. What’s important is the music itself, right? It begins with the title track and you’ll instantly realize what you’re in for. Speedy tracks with very catchy hooks and riffs. Yens Leonhardt’s bass playing is audible here and gives a good crunch to the music. Thomas Nack’s drum playing is consistently great. “Tyranny of Steel” is a good example for both players. “Wings of Deliverance” has Martian Christian (From the band Paragon) on guitars. Who overall is a great player, and he shows it on this song, which has more of an epic chorus than any other track here. “Riding Free” is power metal at it’s finest. Thomas Nack plays his heart out and the overall speed it enticing. “Starchaser” has more of the fantasy aura around it, which will make the natural power fans happy. “H.M Powered Man” is the anthem here, and it’s extremely well done. Catchy as hell with great vocals.

Speaking of vocals, Piet Sielck does a fantastic job here. He may not have the best range on planet earth, but his unique voice is a perfect fit here. His guitar playing isn’t shabby either. Joachim "Piesel" Kustner has some amazing skills and can pull of some unbelievable guitar feats; the guitar playing overall is just great. The musicianship here is immense, and it shows.

“Time Will Tell” is the only bummer on this album; it’s just not as interesting as everything else. The production is also a little spotty, but it’s not the vast to cause any serious problems. If you like heavy and power metal, you must own this. Iron Savoir is one of the most underrated bands in metal history, they should be recognized. “Battering Ram” is an album that works in every aspect. Sure it’s not something new and revolutionary, but it’s always nice to stick with a working formula. Plus it isn't power metal that talks about wizards and dragons. Which is a good break, right?

Uninspired but Brilliant Heavy Metal - 85%

Milkfiend, November 1st, 2006

For those of you who don’t know, all of Iron Savior’s previous albums have followed a science fiction story masterminded by bandleader Piet Sielck with each new release adding another chapter to the Iron Savior saga. The approach has been slightly altered for Battering Ram with only a few of the songs continuing the story and the others exploring broader lyrical themes – for example “Break the Curse” seems to be about depression.

Newcomers, particularly fans of the more grandiose power metal outfits, should note that although Iron Savior are power metal (clearly inspired by Gamma Ray and Painkiller era Judas Priest) their sound is much more down-to-earth than their more “epic” genre mates. Piet Sielck’s vocals are something of a rarity in the genre and he has a more limited range than the typical femme-boy power metal vocalist epitomised by Michael Kiske (actually, I think that Kiske’s great) yet remain clean and powerful throughout – think Hansi Kürsch but replace his occasional softer singing and craftiness of his voice with good old-fashioned toughness. Aside from that, Battering Ram is characterised by stomping double bass drumming that’s not of the variety that will cause your ears to bleed, occasionally audible bass lines, powerful guitar leads and riffs and big, memorable melodic choruses.

Sound familiar to fans? It should. Perhaps unsurprisingly there has been no huge stylistic leap between this album and Savior’s earlier work, yet it bears the closest resemblance to Condition Red. The most notable differences between this album and its predecessors are the lack of another lead vocalist on any track (similarly to Condition Red) and the lack of the traditional cover song to round off the album (again, à la Condtion Red).

Somehow, the Iron Savior team have managed to infuse this album with even more power than before – perhaps its down to Piet Sielck sounding better than ever or the more guitar driven sound (don't expect a lot of keyboards). The rhythm section has also changed around a bit with a new bassist who competently fills the role (though the bass is not as prominent on this album as on others – this isn’t really a problem though as the release still sounds very powerful and complete) and Thomas Nack’s drumming has improved somewhat from his rather lacklustre offering on the previous album.

Unfortunately there is little variety to be found on this disc and many of the tracks sound similar (even lyrically) to others on the album and to songs from earlier Savior releases. The music is still certainly very good – I can’t think of a song which is actively bad on the album - and the notably different guitar styles of Küstner and Sielck make for some great solo swapping on a few of the songs: definitely a highlight. Casual listeners (especially those who don’t really like Sielck’s vocals) may find the entire album difficult to digest especially since the momentum is carried from beginning to end and even the slower tracks (Wings of Deliverance and Machine World) pound away with relentless heaviness. Also the lack of variation invariably leads to some forgettable tracks such as Time Will Tell.

Highlights include the storming title track (bonus points for this one as it is clearly the best lovemaking song ever – just listen to that raunchy chorus: “To bang like a battering ram / unleashing the force of the storm / to bang like a battering ram”. Well, quite.), Stand Against the King (great chorus on this one), Wings of Deliverance (with guest musician Martin Christian playing some of the album’s best guitar leads) and, despite its rather weak lyrics, H.M. Powered Man (which starts off in exactly the same way as Iron Maiden’s 2 Minutes to Midnight).

Iron Savior fans looking for more of the same certainly won’t be disappointed and newcomers looking to “break into” the band could do worse then to pick up this CD (unless, of course, you really care about the story). Those who were hoping for something fresh and new may be disappointed but really, the straightforward heavy metal attitude, amazing power, song writing and musicianship displayed on this release make it virtually impossible for any metal fan to dislike.

Back to Basics. - 85%

hells_unicorn, October 3rd, 2006

After the exodus of Kai Hansen following the "Dark Assault" release, the remaining members of the classic era of Iron Savior began to reshuffle their roles. Jan Eckert gave up any lead vocal duties, and Adreas Kuck accepted having his keyboard duties down-graded. The result was still a fine product in "Condition Red", but not up to par with what they were capable of with that line-up. Following it's release, Jan Eckert departed for greener pastures with Masterplan, and Andreas Kuck pretty much dropped off the face of the metal world, thus ending the classic era of Iron Savior.

What this album is, in actuality, is a more stripped down version of the pre-Unification Iron Savior, though without Kai Hansen and with Thomas Knack on the drums. The guitar sound is much more polished than the debut album, but the role of the keys have been drastically reduced. With the exception of the interlude to "Wings of Deliverance", the album is pretty much devoid of keyboard tracks and most of the atmospheric effects are accomplished through guitars.

Although he gets the job done well on bass and carries former lead vocalist credentials, Yenz is the weak link on this album. His basslines are not nearly as present or as raunchy sounding as Eckert's, and his potential as a secondary lead vocalist are not tapped on this album. Album concept or not, the variety found on the 2nd and 3rd studio releases are a plus that should not be abandoned for the sake of getting back to basics.

One strength that this album possesses that is a drastic improvement over the last is the vocal tracks, particularly during the choruses. Songs including the title track, "Time will tell", and "Star Chaser" have choruses that are give the songs such a dense texture that it reminds me of 80s era Queen. Piet Selick really pushes the limits of his range on a couple of these tracks, and also explores his lower range on such slower tracks like "Machine World".

Another strength are the lead tracks on here. Piesal really has his act together on this album. Solos such as the ones found on "Stand Against the King", "Break the Curse", "Star Chaser" and "H.M. Powered Man" are staples of his bluesy, yet crazy lead approach. Piet does his share of melodic leads on the faster and more epic sounding tracks. But the two greatest leads are the trade-offs between the two on "Machine World" and the guest leads on "Wings of Deliverance" provided by Martin Christian of veteran power metal outfit Paragon.

As a whole, there are no bad songs on here. But individual highlights where all the elements come together to create stand out tracks include the title track, "Tyranny of Steel", "Wings of Deliverance", "Star Chaser", and "Machine World". The others are solid songs, but don't really stand out as being exceptional when compared with past work.

In conclusion, this is a good album, but I think there is some sound maintanence that needs to occur before I can get really jazzed up about this new line-up. I would recommend trying out Yenz doing some brief lead tracks on some of the songs and getting another keyboardist. Power metal fans and fans of late 80s era Judas Priest will like this, but the problem is that aside from Piet's vocals there is little to keep them distinct from the growing number of Priest worshippers.