Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Iron Savior - The Landing (2011)

Iron Savior [Website | MySpace]
The Landing

Iron Savior - The Landing
We all need a little cheese in our lives now and then. Be it mozzarella, Gorgonzola, cheddar, or good ol' German power metal, a bit of Käse does the body good. Piet Sielck has built a career upon our love of cheese. Co-founding Iron Savior in 1996 with fellow countryman Kai Hansen, Sielck proceeded to unleash seven album of unapologetically anthemic power metal. Hansen has long since departed the Iron Savior ranks, but Sielck has soldiered on making little modification to the outfit's core sound. The band's seventh album, The Landing, is therefore testament to a formula of metal that continues to strike a chord within the community despite, or due to, over-the-top bombast and speculative lyrical imagery.

Differing little from its predecessors, The Landing is built upon the dominant riffs of Sielck and Joachim Küstner, with the relentless double-kick of Thomas Nack an ever-present source of energy. While speed is a hallmark of the power metal elite, Sielck and Küstner are at their best on tracks like "The Savior" and "Moment In Time" when velocity is traded for healthy doses of grit and crunch. Even though not as hypersonic as songs such as "Starlight" and "Faster Than All", the latter a thinly veiled ode to Clint Eastwood's Pale Rider, Iron Savior's moderately paced numbers still deliver the goods with some rather expressive leads and creative solos. "Moment In Time" even opens with a nice rumbling bass solo from Jan-Sören Eckert, strengthening an already solid mid-album track. "R.U. Ready", which references many of metal's pioneers from Steppenwolf to AC/DC, shows the two six-stringers adopting more of a classic metal sound as an homage to the founders of our beloved genre.

Iron Savior
Another consistent aspect of Iron Savior's sound is Sielck's unpolished vocal performance, just as strong as ever on The Landing. His range is sometimes surprising, given his somewhat unconventional (as far as power metal vocals go) approach. What's not surprising, however, is the band's use of catchy, fist-pumping choruses. The Landing is virtually oozing with them, as you'd expect any Teutonic power metal album to be, and for the most part they hit the mark. The chorus on one of the album's highlights, "Heavy Metal Never Dies", works the 'headbangers united' theme for everything it's worth - and the nice AOR keyboard atmosphere certainly doesn't hurt this song's staying power. "Hall Of The Heroes" delivers one of The Landing's better shout-along gang choruses and also has a bit of a flashy twin-guitar run at the end.

Fans of Iron Savior, as well as those who gravitate to the style put forth by bands such as Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and Rage, will know exactly what to expect from The Landing. Sielck continues to stay the course, proving yet again that, like an aged cheddar, more of the same isn't necessarily a bad thing. Neither is The Landing, although losing the rather flat power ballad "Before The Pain" would have made the album even better.

Track Listing
2The Savior5:03
4March Of Doom4:57
5Heavy Metal Never Dies4:29
6Moment In Time6:14
7Hall Of The Heroes5:53
8R.U. Ready5:03
9Faster Than All5:18
10Before The Pain4:49
11No Guts No Glory4:46
Total Runtime53:51

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