Released By : Napalm Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre : Heavy Metal
Link : http://www.ironfire.dk
Martin Steene – Vocals (Force of Evil)
Kirk Backarach (Mads Korre Andersen) – Guitars
Martin Lund – Bass (Morbid Vision (Dnk), Magic)
Fritz Wagner – Drums
1. The Dark Beyond
2. Enter Oblivion OJ-666
4. Slaughter of Souls
6. The Final Odyssey
7. Ten Years In Space
8. Voyage of the Damned
9. With Different Eyes
10. Dreams of the Dead Moon
11. Verge to Collide
12. Realm of Madness
13. Warmaster of Chaos (digipack bonus Track)
It has been widely accepted in the metal community for a while now that while IRON FIRE are a great second-tier band, they would probably never be classed as A graders. This generalization was validated back in 2010 with the release of METALMORPHOSIZED, which was heralded by the band as the best thing they had ever done, but largely unliked save for a handful of people. Now, I don’t know what the thinking was within the sanctuary of the band since the release of that previous album, but they must have realized it was about time to pull something a little special out of the hat, which is exactly what they have done with VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED.
I wouldn’t call this so much a re-invention of the band, more a very wise tinkering with their sound, with some slight modern elements grafted in to their usual Power Metal flair, a slightly more prominent keyboard element and clearly the most complete vocal effort ever put to tape by Martin Steene, which even includes the odd Modern Metal gruff and the occasional Death Metal growl too. The riffing in general has been beefed up a bit more than usual and gives the rhythm section a real meaty feel to it, akin to the wall of sound that you would usually get from an EDGUY or HAMMERFALL album for example.
Very few bands have been successful in modernizing the typical Power Metal approach, but there’s just too many great songs on this record to ignore the fact that IRON FIRE have found a formula that works well for them, one which should open up new doors for the band without abandoning their already established fan-base.
VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED is truly one of those albums that I enjoy cover to cover so picking out favorites is a little tricky. But just for the sake of it we’ll look at a few of the best tracks in a little more depth. ENTER OBLIVION is one of the best opening tracks I’ve heard in a long time (minus the obligatory intro of course), and it starts off with a very Power Metal drum/keyboard riff, then heads into DIO-esque Traditional Metal territory before adding a Modern Metal riff section layered with more keyboard work than the band has ever used before. SLAUGHTER OF SOULS includes some heavy vocal work courtesy of Steene, but mixes AT VANCE-esque verses with a chunky chorus section that sounds almost like it could have fitted on TESTAMENT’s much loved album LOW.
THE FINAL ODYSSEY is a minimalistic ballad track that really gives Martin Steene a chance to show just how good his voice is, coming right in the enter of the album also gives it a really great feel too. TEN YEARS IN SPACE will have AVANTASIA fans turning their heads toward the stereo in droves and is good enough to be compared to THE SCARECROW side-by-side, the growled backing vocals add in interesting layer that may turn some people off, but give it a chance at it really works. The epic ten minute title track VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED is the meat and potatoes of the album and is probably the most complete song the band has ever written. Lastly REALM OF MADNESS is easily the heaviest song IRON FIRE has ever released and in places has more in common with Thrash Metal than anything else.
The most unfortunate part about VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED is that there is a strong likelihood that a lot of people will pass on it given their previous experiences with IRON FIRE releases. Those that do take the time to check it out however are in for a nice little surprise, and one of the first highlight albums of 2012.
Written by Zeezee