Sound — 8
Iron Savior was first fused together with members from such prestigious power metal artists as Helloween and Blind Guardian. By combining a thought provoking science fiction-inspired storyline with an authoritative musical approach, Iron Savior quickly earned a formidable reputation throughout the metal community.
Throughout the band's nearly two decade long history, Iron Savior have released a compilation of studio albums and extended plays. While founding guitarist Kai Hansen and drummer Thomen Stauch have go on to leave Iron Savior, with Hansen now focusing on Gamma Ray and Stauch on Savage Circus, the band has always remained intact with longtime lead vocalist Piet Sielck remaining at the helm and piloting the universe-spanning sonic voyage which has always identified Iron Savior.
Despite losing two-thirds of it's key members, Iron Savior is void of any sign of damaging impact or injury. What was once a threesome has since evolved into a four piece band comprised of two backup vocalists, two guitarists and a concrete percussion section. The addition of these positions have proven beneficial to the consistently progressing sound and attitude of Iron Savior, which continues to bolster on the band's newly released eight studio album, "Rise of the Hero."
The listener is quickly strapped down and launched off at lightspeed with the album's opening track "Ascendance." A brief one minute instrumental serves as a warm yet chaotic introduction to the manic performance which awaits the listener throughout the rest of the album. As the final echoes of the track's overpowering synthesizers rings through our ears, we find ourselves caught in the midst of the riff racing anthem "Last Hero." While applaudable vocal melodies and scattering solos soar off in every direction, Sielck's punishing vocals keeps the listener grounded amongst a manic compilation of musical ability.
Keeping in line with Iron Savior's tradition, "Rise of the Hero" captures the listener's attention on all grounds. Alongside the album's creative artwork and unique approach to power metal, "Rise of the Hero" bears a just-as-intriguing track listing which includes such titles as "Thunder From the Mountains," "Far From Beyond Time" and "The Demon." Often the listener discovers that these titles comfortably fit in with the attitude of the songs themselves, as is present on "Burning Heart." Pick grinding guitar work, energetic synthesizers and an emotional vocal performance provides this cut with an unignorable theme of vengeance, and leaves the listener nearly rising up in anger alongside the protagonist.
Lyrics — 7
Piet Sielck's vocal performance throughout "Rise of the Hero" is strongly consistent with both the themes of the songs and the anticipation which comes alongside news of a new Iron Savior effort. Being the only original member of the lineup remaining, there is some pressure placed upon Sielck's shoulders to remain true to the band's earlier efforts, and this is exactly what Sielck does. Lyrically there are few disappointing moments, save for the "Kill Bill"-inspired "Revenge of the Bride." Being only the second full-length song into the album, "Revenge of the Bride" does provide somewhat of a bitter taste in what is otherwise an overall solid power metal effort.
Overall Impression — 7
In short, Iron Savior execute a largely positive performance throughout their eighth studio album "Rise of the Hero." Behind the album's creative storyline enlaced with science fiction is a surplus of accelerating guitar riffs and spine crushing percussion work drenched in synthesized energy for the average power metal to readily dive into. Lead vocalist Piet Sielck, despite having a few head scratching moments lyrically, similarly does an excellent job with attributing the same format of angst-fueled power into these songs. For any established Iron Savior fan, this album comes warmly recommended.