Fireworks

Iron Mask - 'Black As Death' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/83/c3/e0/2319_ironmaskblackasdeath_1339696672.jpg Hot

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Symphonic metal with great musicianship and wonderful songs.

Dushan Petrossi and Iron Mask return with another fine album of neo-classical, Rainbow and Malmsteen influenced melodic metal. I will admit that this CD took me a while longer than usual to engage with to get into: whilst earlier albums by the band had a classic hard rock sound running through them, this one has at its core a harder, more metallic approach to the way the songs are put together. This new found metal attitude can be attributed to the inclusion of the bands new journeyman vocalist Mark Boals (ex-just about everyone) who takes over from the wonderfully named Val Halla Jnr, and whose vocals take the band to a whole new level. So a new singer, a new found musical slant but what does that do to the music of Iron Mask?

Well it gives a new found hunger and belief to the music of the band, that’s for sure. With wonderful guitar breaks, soaring vocals and killer keyboard runs powering the album along you just can’t help but enjoy the classy tracks that encompass ‘Black As Death’. I’ll get my first negative out of the way straightaway, which is that opening things up with the heavy as hell title track doesn’t do the band any favours. Yes it’s a good song but it does not represent the rest of the material present on the album and having growling vocals on it won’t go down well with a lot of fans either! For me ‘Broken Hero’ should have been the lead off track, as it’s a keyboard and guitar dominated rocker that fans of ‘Trilogy’ era Malmsteen will love and with that majestic vocal roar of Boals topping things off, you begin to see what this band are really about.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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‘Feel the Fire’ follows at a blistering pace and the guitar and keyboard interplay is a joy to hear, ‘Genghis Khan’ is a sweeping track, slow and powerful throughout, the song builds to a climatic conclusion and the riff from Petrossi is like a thunderstorm. Next is the near eight minute epic brilliance called ‘God Punishes, I Kill’, a cut with a massive chorus and some wonderful performances, one that makes your fingers itch to hit the replay button. ‘Nosferatu’ follows and shows off the band’s new found metallic attitude to perfection, heavy as hell, in your face and powerful this track rocks. My second gripe about this album is that its best track is sung not by Boals but by guest vocalist Goran Edman whose performance on ballad ‘Magic Sky Requiem’ is just sublime, I don’t understand this new trend of having someone sing on your album then drafting another singer in and giving them the best song on it to sing; very strange.

If you’re a sucker for heavy melodic symphonic metal with great musicianship and wonderful songs, then look no further than this brand new Iron Mask album because apart for the odd niggle, it’s a sure fire winner.

Ian Johnson

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