|Review: Iron Savior - Titancraft|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2016
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 24, 2016
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Rated 3.59/5 (71.76%) (17 Votes)
Iron Savior have been relentlessly charging the masses with their sci-fi-themed Teutonic Power Metal since 1997, when the highly acclaimed self-titled album debuted, gathering thousands of hundreds to the group's intergalactic journey. So, when you hear that the Germans are deploying yet another effort to our mortal ears, you pay attention. Allied with his loyal space-crew, Jan Jan-Sören Eckert (bass, additional vocals), Thomas Nack (drums) and Joachim "Piesel" Küstner (guitars), Piet Sielck takes flight once again with Titancraft, their ninth campaign into the cruel and cold depths of the galaxies.
As always with Iron Savior albums, there is absolutely no desire to reinvent the Power Metal wheel here, but actually refine and improve the formula, which nowadays so many bands are desperately trying to bring with mediocre albums. Following the path of past endeavors such as Rise of the Hero and The Landing, the band succeeds in injecting you with a crunchy and cheesy dose of European Power Metal, and a tasty one at that. Taking off with an already characteristic intro engulfed in a sci-fi atmosphere, the album bursts with "Titancraft", a memorable, thunderous tune with a catchy melodic chorus and master-crafted riffs. This is how Iron Savior always begin their albums, and this is exactly how it should be. The album raises the bar even more with "Way of the Blade", the best song of the effort, in my opinion. Aggressive, fast and with a pompous chorus replete with choirs, this reminded me to some degree of the better stack of songs released in the early 2000s by these guys, and it could easily feature on albums such as Unification or Battering Ram.
But as nothing is ever perfect, the album loses some steam with "Seize the Day" and "Gunsmoke"; the former raises the limits of cheesiness a little too much with rather bland and generic lyrics, while the second is actually solid in its construction – especially in the riff department – but doesn't marry quite well with Iron Savior's signature sound, making it sort of a fish out of water. "Beyond the Horizon" picks up the pace once again, and while it's similar to "Seize the Day", it has much better songwriting and a stronger build overall. "The Sun Won't Rise in Hell" and "Strike Down the Tyranny" deliver a good balance between being cheesy and badass, consisting of memorable and powerful riffs and great vocal display by Piet with his grave and rough voice. "Brothers in Arms" has a good vibe and an uplifting chorus, and it resonates well with its mid-paced and low-key approach compared to the other tracks. And then comes my absolute nightmare when listening to Power Metal albums: a ballad. I was definitely not expecting this, as Iron Savior is not known for a quieter, sadder approach. "I Surrender", like "Gunsmoke", feels completely out of place in an otherwise concise album, and I honestly don't know why Piet decided to add this tune. Don't get me wrong, it's not a horrible, unlistenable song, but it breaks the rhythm in a manner that makes the track very difficult to like. The album ends with "Rebellious", which has a groovy vibe and a good sing-along chorus, making for one of the better songs on the album.
With Titancraft, while relying in the same formulaic approach as ever, these guys prove once again why they are a very, very reliable band. Unfortunately, I can't help but to put the album in the low ranks of their discography because even being a solid and fun effort, Iron Savior have released amazing works over the years and this is not on par with the best of them.
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