Iron Fire - Dawn Of Creation - (9/10)
Published on August 15, 2018
If there’s any band who thoroughly deserve a twentieth-anniversary celebration double album, it’s the Danish power metal outfit Iron Fire. Consistently hard-working, but always with the odds stacked against them, it’s a wonder Steene and co. have managed to produce such stellar albums as To The Grave or the epic Voyage Of The Damned. The feelings of hardship over their 20-year existence are explored thoroughly in the new celebratory compilation Dawn Of Creation. Not only is there a spelling error every other word (even on the front cover – see if you can spot it!), but the difference in recording quality as each track passes through different record labels and time periods make this a more-than-decent summation of Iron Fire’s history. What the Danes have cooked up here in 2018 is a smorgasbord of fun little treats for die-hard fans (of which I most certainly am one). From unreleased songs and covers to demo versions and live performances – this is a wonderful gift for Ironheads everywhere. But not – I repeat – NOT a new studio effort for newcomers to gauge a judgement from.
Disc 1 deals with the band’s more recent material (2009ish onwards) – and it doesn’t get more recent than 3 brand new tracks written just for this release! The title-track, “Coming Home” and “The Other Side” all display Iron Fire circa 2018, sounding very healthy indeed. After the gritty thrash-fest of Among The Dead, they seem to be settling into a slightly more restrained sound, but the heavy riffs are still there and Martin Steene’s vocals are retaining their rough edge. I just hope he doesn’t lose the deathly growls he’s been honing for the past decade, because they’ve reached peak awesomeness. Of the three new numbers, “The Other Side” is the choice cut because it channels a full-on metal attitude with an excellent main riff to boot. However, the main point of interest on disc 1 is “King At Any Cost” from the doomed Inferno project. If that album ever saw the light of day, this song would’ve been an excellent spokesperson; sporting a grandiose chorus mixed with some truly vicious riff work. It’s also very pleasing to hear some of my favourite tracks like “Among The Dead”, “Tornado Of Sickness” and especially the brutal “My Awakening” in their raw demo states. Cheers for that, Martin!
Disc 2 is a veritable banquet of demos, experiments and alternate versions of classic IF songs. The previously unreleased material is the biggest point of intrigue, especially from the tumultuous On The Edge period. “Prophecy Of Pain” sticks out like a not-so-sore thumb with its menacing drive, but “Defender Of The Ring” absolutely craves more attention! Iron Fire have pulled off 10-minute epics before with “Voyage Of The Damned” and “The Phantom Symphony”, but this musical journey is probably the pinnacle of their progressive songwriting. It’s hard to believe this wasn’t on a studio album. As a die-hard Ironhead, it’s a total joy to hear “The Beast From The Blackness”, “Demon Master” and “The Kingdom” in their early forms as “Fire God”, “Brothers United” and “Jerusalem” respectively.
Like I said, any casual power metal fan would be really confused by this point at the mix in sound quality, but I cannot emphasize enough that this really is for serious fans. Fairweather fans, go listen to the first 3 tracks, then pick up Among The Dead and Voyage Of The Damned to really get into IF. But if you’ve been following the Danes since the early days and feel you deserve your fix of intriguing material whilst we wait, with baited breath, for a new release – then Dawn Of Creation will totally have you covered. It’s not a perfect release, but it does exactly what it sets out to do. Hell, even the covers of UFO’s “This Kids” and Virgin Steele’s “A Token Of My Hatred” are performed with aplomb and a certain joie de vivre. Also, that cover art is utterly freaking sick! Please don’t make us wait too long for the next one…