Now this is more like it. This is the way “true” Metal should be. From the Voivod cast-off cover art, to the overdone synth intro, to the opening riff that is reminiscent both of early Metallica and Iron Maiden simultaneously, to a Prologue (yes, really) in the liner notes that explains the concepts behind Unification , Iron Savior are quite simply the shit. And why shouldn’t they be? Iron Savior is, after all, the new project of Kai Hansen, “lead axe” for both the none-more-bombastic Helloween and Gamma Ray. Evidently Hansen is still staying true to the Metal, he still hasn’t cut his hair and he’s engineered a brutal cross between Manowar, Forbidden, and the aforementioned Maiden. If you don’t mind getting your drama in your metal, with a healthy dose of space-travel-science-fiction lyric overload, and a “futuristic” spoken interlude — well, meet your new favorite band.
Iron Savior impress me because they take so many potentially annoying motifs of ’80s Power/Euro Metal and actually make them work! For instance, Kai Hansen pretty much never stops soloing for the whole record, but he has such a fluid and melodic style that it doesn’t grandstand like Streisand over the rest of the band. The lyrics are total Manowar meets Somewhere In Time , but they are executed so powerfully by vocalists Hansen and Slelck that I’m sitting there thinking, “Yes, ‘Starbirds are gliding on wings of decay!'” They’re that good. Hansen in particular hits those high notes that Eric Adams strains hopelessly for nowadays and holds them foreeeeeeeeverrrrr. Just like that. They’re progressive without being too, you know, noodle-y. And they’ve got a prime ’80s thrash rhythm guitar sound that makes me want to cry.
“Gorgar” is scary, “The Battle” will rock yr puny indie world forever, and “Forevermore” is the godhead of power ballads, devouring Queen, Pink Floyd, and Candlemass amidst the carnage of a grand piano and 2 million lit cigarette lighters. All this and a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights” as a bonus track — will you heed the battle cry?
Noise Records, 12358 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604