Starting in 2006 with ‘Revenge’ Iron Fire return with a new album entitled ‘Voyage of the Damned’. On this new CD the band come across as a blistering combination of Dream Evil, Firewind and early Pagan’s Mind, and with this new release the band has crafted what I can only describe as an intelligent and technically brilliant metal album, that lovers of the heavier side of the rock music will love.
This intelligence stems from the very clever use of pianos and keyboards throughout the album and its songs as they change the musical landscape for Iron Fire and hoist them above the usual run-of-the-mill acts that play in this genre, and help them to forge an identity and persona all their own. Also the production of Jacob Hansen is another big feather in the bands collective caps, powerful and epic, it really brings out the best in the bands performances and music.
And what of the music? Well starting things off is the heavy yet highly melodic ‘Enter Oblivion - OJ666’ a song full of crashing drums and wailing guitars, which is then topped off with a fantastic keyboard melody line, ‘Slaughter Of Souls’ follows and is all about a (the) Stargate; the track throws up many sci-fi images in your mind as it plays, also the piano that is used on the chorus is simply amazing to hear and the hook is catchy and oh so memorable. Singer Martin Steene comes to the fore on ‘Leviathan’ another highly melodic metal track, that sees the him giving his all to the song, the guitars of Kirk Backarach then weave an inticing thread through the cut and his solo on the song is superb.
‘Ten Years In Space’ is all pounding riffs and hard hitting vocals, the song, however, being tempered with a strong underlying melody that drives it along. The ten minute plus title track ‘Voyage Of The Damned’ is an epic, choirs abound and the orchestration used on the track is just superb, Nils K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind) guests on vocals and Iron Fire take a massive step into the big league with this amazing song. The wonderfully titled ‘Dreams Of A Dead Moon’ is another big riffing metal monster, which is forced along by Steen’s vocals and the striking powerhouse drumming of Fritz Wagner, it is also another indication of just how good this band is. Ending with ‘Realm Of Madness’ Iron Fire left this listener with his finger hovering over the repeat button on his CD player, which I can only tell you is high praise on my part.
It is rare in these days of bands who stick so rigidly to genres, to find/hear a metal album that has such an awareness of melody and power, and a band that in Iron Fire is not afraid to use either to their full advantage. Great stuff.