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Thunder From Germany - 75%

Larry6990, May 10th, 2014

Despite being a huge power metal fan for years and years - Iron Savior are a band who have somehow managed to avoid my metal radar. They're speedy, they're German, and their lyrics are all based on sci-fi stories. So why haven't I intentionally purchased their albums yet? Only God knows. However, with their latest release - the brilliantly titled "Rise of the Hero" - the temptation grew too much for me. Admittedly, that was mainly the fault of the cover art. I mean, look at that magnificence! Irresistable. Having no previous listening experience of this band - I approached this with a blank slate of a mind.

First impression? METAL.

This album embraces the classic metal attitude with open arms. The guitars are right at the forefront of the production, blazing away with riffs and solos aplenty. They have a peculiar tone, which at least gives "Rise of the Hero" an identity of its own, but riffs such as those found on "Thunder From The Mountains" and "Iron Warrior" will have you headbanging without restraint (my neck certainly aches a little anyhow!). The vocals are the next most prominent factor - Piet Sielck has great set of pipes, gruff but always tuneful; similar to Joakim from Sabaton. His voice blends perfectly with the occasional backing chorus from the other members. It is these moments of choir-like bombast where "Rise of the Hero" reaches its peak. The rhythm section is very solid indeed. Admittedly, the bass is quite inaudible - but Thomas Nack's performance behind the kit is both precise and energetic.

The intro track, "Ascendence", seems a little out of place. The celestial atmosphere it creates contrasts too much with the heroic heavy/power metal sound that succeeds it. But it can be forgotten as soon as opener "The Last Hero" bursts in with triumphant bravado. This is definitely one of the better structured and more well-executed tracks on the entire album. The chorus is unforgettable and it served as a perfect introduction to the band for me.

The rest of the album follows suit. "Rise of the Hero" ebbs and flows with solid consistency throughout. Thankfully, Iron Savior throw in enough variety regarding tempo and key, whilst remaining stylistically loyal. "From Far Beyond Time", "Thunder From The Mountain" and "Firestorm" are the up-tempo double-kick speedsters. "Burning Heart", "Iron Warrior" and "Dragon King" are the mid-tempo heavy metal stompers. And there's even a semi-ballad in the form of "The Demon", which is cleverly placed toward the album's end.

Okay, so it's not "Night at the Opera - Part II" - but it's solid, precise, consistent, and highly enjoyable. I will definitely delve into Iron Savior's back catalogue after being introduced via this beast. If you are new the to power metal genre, this could also serve as a fantastic gateway. Just be sure to skip the cover of "Dance With Somebody"; definitely a missed target there!

Highlights - "The Last Hero", "From Far Beyond Time", "Thunder From The Mountains", "Iron Warrior"

For fans of - Bloodbound, Majesty, Firewind