October 14, 2023

Music truly is the spice of life and it is the amazing variety of styles available that makes it such a joyous journey with every day bringing more delights to revel in and savour (no pun intended). Now, as we all know, there is music that brings immediate satisfaction and is easy to assimilate but then you also have bands that can be more of an acquired taste; take Van Der Graaf Generator for example which, for me, is one of the greatest bands ever but many can and do struggle with the complexities of the music and the boundary pushing nature of what VDGG and Peter Hammill do so well.

One genre that most definitely does not take the cerebral route is power metal and it is the very craziness and over the top nature that makes it such a totally engaging process. Let’s face it, you put on a CD by any power metal outfit and you know what you are going to get and it always gives immediate musical gratification. I am not trying to denigrate the genre as it is a style I enjoy so much and always play at maximum volume with a huge smile on my face regardless of which behemoth is my chosen power metal champion of the day!

This brings us neatly on to the mighty fine and extremely powerful German band Iron Savior which was put together in 1996 by multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer Pielt Sielck along with Kai Hansen (Helloween) and Thomen Stauch (Blind Guardian) and is a power metal band with a distinct sci-fi theme loosely based around a sentient spaceship (the Iron Savior) and includes, amongst many other subjects, the myths and legend of the lost lands of Atlantis. Firestar is the 14th album (if you include the two Reforged projects) and very much continues the style seen on all of the early releases with epic tales of fantasy and derring-do and all delivered with a luscious power/speed metal sound that is big, bad, heavy, a touch pretentious (but in a good way) and ever so gloriously over the top which is all that we ever really want for our power metal fix!

If you haven’t heard Iron Savior (and why not?) then all you need to know is that they play hard and heavy metal in the same style as the like of Priest, Maiden, Helloween and Blind Guardian with all of the excesses you would normally expect with storming and soaring vocals combined with screaming , wailing guitars and thunderous, churning riffs with a million miles an hour bass and drums that sets up an avalanche of sound that simply sweeps all before it. Piet Sielck (vocals/guitar) remains as the only original member as Stauch left in 1998 with Hansen following in 2001 and there have been a number of comings and goings over the years with the remainder of the band now being guitarist Joachim Küstner, bassist Jan S. Eckert and drummer Patrick Klose although they have been in the band for several years with Küstner joining in 2000 and Eckert in now in his 2nd having joined in 1997 to depart in 2003 and then returning in 2001. This makes Klose as the new kid in town having been recruited in 2017 but all are fully ensconced and indoctrinated into all things Iron Savior. There are supporting keyboards and backing vocals to give a choir effect which adds a superior and fulsome sound to the proceedings but it is the guitar, as usual, that makes you sit up and take notice and then there is the usual masterclass vocal performance from Sielck to delight in.

Firestar is a fast and furious metal extravaganza that meets and exceeds all your power metal requirements and proves once again, if proof were ever needed, that Iron Savior is a rock band that is a force of nature and a testimony to German metal at its mightiest. Iron Savior has a formula and it works so why change it as this is what we want?

Firestar

  1. The Titan (1:13)
  2. Curse of the Machinery (5:40)
  3. In the Realm of Heavy Metal (4:28)
  4. Demise of the Tyrant (4:19)
  5. Firestar (5:05)
  6. Through the Fires of Hell (5:02)
  7. Mask, Cloak and Sword (3:59)
  8. Across the Wastelands (4:52)
  9. Rising from Ashes (5:41)
  10. Nothing Is Forever (4:48)
  11. Together as One (5:01)