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Thunder from the Savior - 84%

Andromeda_Unchained, March 14th, 2014

Fuck yeah, new Iron Savior! Always a cause for rejoice, especially when it kills, and unsurprisingly it does. Whereas their last album brought them back from somewhat of a hiatus and pushed forward a more modern sound, here Iron Savior truly pick up where they left off in 2007 and give us an album that fits perfectly in line with their best work and could have comfortably followed Unification or Condition Red despite its glossier production values.

Rise Of The Hero see Piet and co. doing what they do best, dishing out the crunchy German power metal with riffs in spades and plenty of ace choruses. It really feels like they've settled back into their groove here and the guys are totally on top form. The production is absolutely class, with a great mix, killer guitar tone, pummeling rhythm section, and of course that godly lead guitar tone which ensure the solos and melodies soar high. Piet sounds great and energized too, proudly commanding the material despite some goofy lyrics as heard in the Kill Bill-inspired "Revenge Of The Bride", or the as expected heavy metal anthem "Fistraiser".

One thing which, upon reflection, kind of hurt The Landing were the slower songs, which weren't as great as they could have been. Here the Savior largely stick to tearing heads, and it really gives the album this kind of infectious energy – I'm struggling to remain seated writing. I'd say Iron Savior open with one of the strongest sets of songs they have to date here, although honestly they hardly let up throughout. The run from "Last Hero" to "Thunder From The Mountains" is bloody INSANE, and the latter number incorporates a slight bit of Savage Circus aggression to the Iron Savior sound, which works so well; I'd really like to see Piet and the gang expand on this next time around, as it is seriously badass.

There's a definite classic Iron Savior vibe at the heart of the album, with plenty of moments taking me back to specific albums, like "Dragon King" which serves up the fist-pumping Condition Red magic, or the lightning strike that is "From Far Beyond Time", which wouldn't sound out of place on Unification or even their debut. Fortunately I feel they avoid falling into mere rehash territory, and I'd certainly say there were a few elements here that upgrade the Savior machine. The aforementioned "Thunder From The Mountains" for one, shows there's still room for Iron Savior to bring a different dimension to their speedy up-tempo numbers, and I think that the considerable amount effort and work Piet put into Savage Circus has further expanded his songwriting repertoire. It adds a new aspect to the Iron Savior sound, and "The Demon" is good evidence of this, standing as a curiously put together number, with distinct sections, whether soft or frighteningly aggressive. I wouldn't classify the song amongst the strongest work on the album, but it certainly shows potential, and leaves me feeling positive about the band pushing forward their sound.

When it all comes together Rise Of The Hero comes off as a proud release that houses everything we love about Iron Savior as well as the odd surprise. I'm not massively hot on the cover track, "Dance With Somebody," but I will say it's well integrated with the rest of the material, and doesn't sound too out of place. Really, though, that's the only slight issue I have here, as the rest of the material is absolutely cracking. If you're at all a fan of German-style heavy/power metal or bands like Grave Digger, Paragon, and Stormwarrior then you need this one.

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