Released: 2006, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Suffering somewhat of a Sophomore Curse with their previous outing (2001’s poorly-received On The Edge), enduring massive line-up changes, and going on what must have seemed like a career-ending hiatus (five years)—-not to mention vocalist Martin Steene’s obviously-distracting involvement in the all-star Force Of Evil project-—you might expect the prospects of another Iron Fire disc slim, and the outcome of it being of any quality slimmer still.
Perhaps, then, the “revenge” spoken of in the title might be directed at anyone who made the aforementioned assumptions. First off, the line-up changes seem to be for the better: as a cohesive whole, I would say this is meaner, leaner, and all-around heavier than previous releases. Despite the presence of Tommy Hansen on keys, this veers significantly from the general Helloweenish trappings that the majority of power metal falls into, nor does it venture into power-prog dimensions ala Stratovarius or Platitude. It is neither symphonic (Blind Guardian, Rhapsody) nor significantly retro (Penetrator, Viperine). Instead, it skips along like Vince Neil fronting Mystic Prophecy, which—in context here—works just fine.
Not that this will convert the haters of all things Power Metal—-Mercyful Fate connection via Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon aside. Trite choruses and simplistic approaches (“Ironhead”), and…well…cheese-glorious-cheese (“Whirlwind Of Doom”) abound. But for every cliché dispensed, we get another beefy riff and cool vocal acrobatic to match…it’s almost tit for tat, in that regard. The tits could be bigger, though.
Ultimately, this won’t revolutionize Power Metal, and it probably won’t make any Top Ten lists, either; but it will grow on you, and does—-in a musical sense—-accomplish those things it sets out to do, which is more than most releases of this ilk. Now excuse me…I have a sudden urge to listen to some Slayer, and wash all this Dungeons & Dragons stuff out of my system…
Highlights: “Wings Of Rage,” “Savage Prophecy,” “Fate Of Fire.”