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Fun - 88%

The_Ghoul, January 26th, 2009

If it weren't for their immortal debut, Unification would have to be Iron Savior's best album. It showcases a perfect flowering of the blend between Kai Hansen's more power metally Helloween (duh) and Iron Maiden influenced songwriting, Piet Sielck's more thrashy/speed metal attack reminiscent of Painkiller and olskool Blind Guardian, Piet's unique and recognizable phrasing and vocal overdubs, and of course Andreas Kuck's keyboard talents. As well, the production job here is A+, as the guitars have a really metallic flare to them, which goes nicely with Jan-Soren Eckhart's meaty bass. However, I can't mention this without mentioning also Dan Zimmerman. One of my favorite drummers, he drums with such power and consistency that you can really feel his presence on everything he does. His kick drum is monstrous and his snare and tom work are breathtaking at the very least.

But notice I mentioned that the eponymous debut was better. I can't help but feel like a Lincoln aficionado when Lincoln updated the Continental luxury car in 1958. What they essentially did was replace a high-cost, very elite, and very special luxury coupe with a bloated, noticably uglier, trendier, cheaper, but ultimately way less special typical american barge. How that compares to Iron Savior is that one thing I liked about the debut was the subtlety in the way many lines were phrased. Sure, Iron Savior are credited largely for inventing the massively overdubbed chorii, but on their debut they kept it under control, i.e. they knew when to use them, and when not to. Here, on Unification, the mentality is of that when Lincoln redid the Continental: go full blast on everything. Add harmonies left and right, double bass the fuck out of the listener, make every chorus extremely catchy and make every riff drip with cheese and good ol' fashioned power metal cheer and speed metal, well, speed. That being said, the most of the songs on the debut were written in the 1980-1983 range, so the feel was notably different.

Still though, Unification is fun to listen to. It is much less special and much less classic than the original, but it does get the heads moving. My favorites have to be Prisoner of the Void and Mind Over Matter, but all the songs here are great, and capture that cosmic feeling perfectly. One complaint I do have, about all the songs, but namely 3 that I can name off the top of my head (Starborn, Deadly Sleep, and Brothers) have a disturbing plagiarism feel to them. While Kai Hansen has always been one to wear his influences on his sleeves, it's rather inappropriate at times and ruins what could've been a world beating record. As I said, it's a less special, less classic, and ultimately lower quality album than when compared to the debut, but it's a great album to rock out to, and the story is pretty easy to follow along to as well, which is a plus.