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On The Edge
Released: 2001, Noise Records
This band undeservedly took some crap for their last album because people viewed it as un-original and copying bands like HammerFall and Helloween. The comparison was founded but the criticism, I thought, was unfounded. Sure these bands influenced them but at the time these guys were quite young, and no that’s not an excuse, but it shows where they might be coming from. Despite not offering something new, they did have a solidly written CD with memorable songs that someone who is a fan of power metal would like instantly. On Iron Fire’s second release, ON THE EDGE, everyone is wondering – What has changed? Have they grown musically and as a band? Well, the music is darker sounding, the songs are not all thundering double kicks and they have grown musically…but in what direction I cannot say because they are trying too hard to be too many things.
The album’s title track “On The Edge” is one of the better tracks, probably the reason why the band chose this as the album’s title. The chorus features some great vocals…making me wonder why the vocalist didn’t sing more like that throughout the CD!! The chorus ends with a cookie monster sounding line “one foot in the grave” – not something you expect form a band of this nature. This song is probably the bands heaviest to date. It still mixes in their power metal elements but it also has a more aggressive feel. “Into The Abyss” also features more of a groove-orientated sound akin to something from say Sacred Reich’s album INDEPENDENT. Yes, that’s right….the boys are branching out here and not always sticking to the speedy riffing backed with the thundering double kicks. This is a song on which this works very well. The other thing I must point out is that the songs are NOT all about castles, dragons and the glory of battle. This song in particular is about the sad state of the world and is a piece of social commentary. If you are looking for the thundering ass kickers then you will love the aptly titled “Thunderspirit” – it’s not balls out all the way through, but it is one of the better moments on the CD packaged with an infectious singy-songy chorus. “Wanted Man” (no unfortunately they didn’t cover that Ratt classic haha!) begins with guitar and a Hammond Organ a la Deep Purple…huh? Wow, these guys sure are trying hard to shake off the pigeonholing they got for their debut CD!!! This song is so-so and sounds more like a hard rock number complete with a harmonica solo?!?! This is NOT a power metal song at all. “Lost ‘n Alone” is a ballad with a Bon Jovi-esqe feel, with the difference being that Bon Jovi does it better haha.. I like some ballads, but this one didn’t grab me in any way. Things “brighten” up on my anthem of the month “Forever Evil” – a very cool speedy track sounding like quite an evil power metal hymn! “Forever evil, in darkness we ride. Forever evil, in hell we unite” ohhhh s-s-scary huh? Well it is a great song, loveable cheese aside. “Here and Alive” is a pretty cool track, again the strong part being the chorus. “Miracle” is another of the CD’s ultra weird moments beginning with “bop-dada-ploppa” vocal nonsense like Aerosmith’s Stephen Tyler spouts off in many of their songs. This song is borderline gospel hard rock…WTF? “We need a miracle to save us from judgment day”…sure man…sure. “Price of Blood” is another example of where the bands obvious experimentation worked. This song is a gritty grooving track that almost puts in my mind some visions of present day Sentenced. The vocals sounded a bit thin in places, it is not that it’s bad it just needs some work. The prime example of this is in the chorus of “Prince of Agony” – sounds more like “Prince of Aggoneeeeeeeeeeeeee.” It just doesn’t cut it there. The song itself has some quotes form the unholy prophet himself, PINHEAD! Gee, how many bands have dredged him up to use for a quote or two huh? Sure, Pinhead rules and all, but c’mon!
Iron Fire’s attempt to branch out and experiment is admirable and in theory seems like a step in the right direction. That said I still liked their debut CD THUNDERSTORM better then this. I’d rather Iron Fire remain a solid non-original band with good songs then a lost and looking for a style band like they are on this CD. They are competent musicians and prove they are able to cover different styles. When I listen to this album, one minute I’m ready to head bang and raise the fist of the metal child, then next I’m ready to choke someone because the song just turns to crap.
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