IRON FIRE are one of a breed of power metal bands that have existed since the turn of the century. Often visually indistinct from each other, with computer generated artwork and a tendency to avoid stage outfits, these bands are the mainstay of modern power metal. Luckily for IRON FIRE they’ve always stayed ahead of the pack by virtue of writing some damn good songs. Now on album number eight how does Among the Dead stand against their back catalogue?
After a suitably zombie invasion introduction courtesy of The Lost City, the album begins properly with its title track Among The Dead. This is pure IRON FIRE fair with catchy riffs and chorus. Deeper pseudo-death metal vocals make an appearance here and there on the track. A competent opener. Hammer of the Gods continues at a mid-pace with few deviations from the formula fans are familiar with including a solid solo. Tornado Of Sickness is faster than the previous two tracks and driven heavily by the guitars, with some more hard rock singing on the verses giving way to a pure power metal chorus.
Higher Ground is the more traditional metal song on the album and features the first sing-along chorus of the album, as well as more of the deep growls that’s feature throughout, an odd choice for songs which otherwise hardly deviate from the genre. Beginning with some quality twin guitar playing Iron Eagle is one of the best tracks of the album. From start to finish its simple power metal, something IRON FIRE do very well. Both of the following tracks Made To Suffer and The Last Survivor don’t quite live up to it, despite continuing the faithfulness to genre tropes.
In contract to these No Sign Of Life sounds like an attempt to write a TESTEMENT song, given its riffs and vocals. Unfortunately it doesn’t work particularly well and its presence detracts from an already long album. Ghosts From The Past slows the pace back down but unfortunately fails to do anything interesting, the end result is just dull. The albums closer When The Lights Go Out is the ballad of the album and coming after a slow track already struggles to hold the attention. A lack of variation in pacing and riffs in both of these tracks hurts what could have been two solid songs.
In conclusion this is a somewhat odd album for IRON FIRE. Neither fish nor fowl the band doesn’t seem to have been able to make up their mind if they were going to stick to the power metal genre that has served them so well so far or if they planned to do something different. The end result falls halfway between these and suffers as a result, even if the elements of the music itself are not bad. An indecisive album by a band experienced enough to know better.
Among The Dead is set for release on September 16th via Crime Records.
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