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July 13, 2024

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Iron Savior
Unification (Noise Records)

By: Jeb Branin

Yes the moniker IRON SAVIOR is extremely cliche and dumb at first glance but after you listen to this band and realize that this album may indeed be the savior of metal music it doesn't seem so bad. Before I even put this sucker on my expectations were sky high. Kai Hansen (Helloween/Gamma Ray) is one of my favorite musicians and this "side-project" band of his was making huge waves in the progressive metal underground... After a few listens (okay a few dozen) all I can say is "Surf's Up"!! Those "huge waves" are definitely going to swell into a tsunami. This is the progressive metal album the world has been waiting for. It is technical and melodic to be sure, but more importantly, it is also aggressive, heavy and thrashing. Double bass drumming, cheese grater riffs, soaring guitar solos and dual vocals. Piet Sielck has the cleaner voice and is utilized much more but for my money the band are at their best when Kai handles the lead vocal chores. It brings to mind when Kai wailed for HELLOWEEN in the early days when they were still more thrash than anything else. His voice is so distinctive that it doesn't really matter that it isn't very versatile. Metal is not a genre that suffers from a limited voice as long as that voice leaves it's mark, and Kai's does just that. Musically I have to say that in many ways this seems to me to be the logical progression of the old HELLOWEEN sound, even more so than GAMMA RAY or even the "new" HELLOWEEN. That fact is driven home on track 13 where IRON SAVIOR redo the classic HELLOWEEN track "Gorgar". A remake that is incredibly true to the original and yet still fits in nicely with the rest of the album. Also notable is their cover of the Dio era SABBATH classic "Neon Knights." Every metal fan needs this.
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