Iron Fire - Among the Dead - (8/10)
Published on September 13, 2016
Iron Fire are one of Denmark’s most veteran power metal bands, and on their last album Voyage of the Damned they had shown a far darker side compared to the quite “happy” metal of their early albums. Among the Dead is their eighth album and it is a concept around the oh-so-popular zombie apocalypse and as the lyrical topic already indicates, this is not a happy-go-lucky affair either. Since their last album, Iron Fire have shrunk to a trio, with singer and mastermind Martin Steene also picking up the bass and he is probably one of the elements in the band’s sound that has changed the most since the beginning.
The opening title track at first makes one wonder, if this is the right CD, because rarely (if ever) have Iron Fire sounded so dark, so heavy and especially the vocals are far deeper and grittier than in the past. Driving and intense, the song draws the listener in until it culminates into a double-bass driven, melodic chorus, even though the vocals are very different and even some few growls are strewn in, this song is a great way to reel the listener right into the midst of the fray, great opener!
Despite the dark atmosphere, Iron Fire sound fresher than ever, be it on speedy “Tornado of Sickness” that also features the deeper vocals of Steene, the melodic sensitivity of “Iron Eagle” or the excellent power ballad “When the Lights Go Out” at the end, while there are not a lot of songs that ultimately stand out, it is the cohesiveness of Among the Dead that is the album’s biggest strength. At the end as bonus track there also is a cover version of Metallica’s classic “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and it actually fits the concept of the album in the end.
It is fairly safe to say that Among the Dead is probably Iron Fire’s most aggressive album, with the deeper vocals, more shout choruses, heavy riffing and the darker feel overall, and while it is quite the departure to, say, Thunderstorm, it suits the Danes well and might give them a longer lease on life than if they would have stuck to what they started out with. An excellent piece of darker power metal that even people who hated their early releases could very well grow to like, they definitely still have the chops to compete!