Power Metal gets more than its fair share of bad press from the Metal reviewer’s hell bent on distancing themselves from what is arguably the most accessible and the foundation setting genre of Heavy Metal. For many Power Metal is a staid yet stoic musical realm rarely venturing outside its comfort zone, emancipation being something other bands do. The lyrical themes never veer much away from the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy style or epic tales of the clash of steel on the battlefield and the album art contrives to ape masculinity to a misogynistic level.
And bands like Denmark’s IRON FIRE only add combustibles to the fires of Power Metal confrontation. This lot, now on album five of a twelve year career, really deserve, according to some scribes to be as relevant as a POISON/WHITE LION re-union tour. However like a wounded pack animal IRON FIRE return once more, bolstered I’d guess, by the success of last year's excellent ‘’Blade Of Triumph’’, which saw the band lean to a more expressive Melodic Power Metal sound which fitted them rather well.
However it’s full reverse on ‘’To The Grave’’, as IRON FIRE return with a strictly traditional Power Metal sound more akin to early releases. Still fronted by the unique pipes of Martin Steene who reduces the warbling falsetto singing that might have put many off the last album and in turn pulls off a much better vocal performance. The guitar sound is also heavier and a much more straight forward Heavy metal, the solos zing and pepper. You couldn’t really ask for much more to be honest.
It’s difficult to argue with the force of ‘’Cover The Sun’’, the dumb down bravado of ‘’Kill For Metal’’, the thundering drive of ‘’March Of The Immortals’’, the cut and thrust of ‘’The Kingdom’’ or the silliness of the MANOWAR inspired ‘’Hail To Odin’’ These are what they are: good chest beating Power Metal anthems and IRON FIRE rarely deliver anything less.
Here’s to album number six.
(Online February 14, 2009)