Released: 2009, Napalm Records
If cheesy happy power metal is your thing, look no further than Iron Fire. There’s always a time and place for inspiration ‘Fight! Fight!’ lyrics and uplifting speed metal riffing. Always?
Iron Fire are a Danish quintet, and from their band pics, they look like they are in their teens, barely old enough to shave. And yet TO THE GRAVE is their fifth full-length album, and they display some good solid and mature songwriting. Well, perhaps not in the lyrical department, but certainly the riffs are hard, heavy and well-constructed, and carry the songs well.
They take a lot of inspiration sonically and lyrically from the likes of Hammerfall and Dragonforce. I know I know, not a combination to whet your appetites, and this album probably isn’t one for the ages. None of the choruses are particularly catchy, and certainly not as memorable as Hammerfall’s best offerings. This album is one for the here and now. Feel in the need for some relaxing, non-aggressive metal, and tired of your Manowar or Rhapsody? Stick on some Iron Fire, surf the net, feed your cat and do your laundry.
The lack of aggression or bite is especially apparent in the vocals, which I don’t find convincing at all. Martin Steene has the voice of Sebastian Bach (Skid Row), ZP Theart (Dragonforce) and Joacim Cans (Hammerfall) combined, he is a good power metal singer, but he has none of their forcefulness. When Joacim sings “Come and fly with us/Together as one we belong/This magic of metal unites us/It’s making us strong”, when Eric proclaims “We’re the kings of metal/Coming to town”, when Niklas sneers “I have no religion/Besides the heavy metal gods” – I fucking BELIEVE. When Martin murmurs “The last metal troops will rise/Born in the fire/We meet them eye to eye/And kill for metal”, I ain’t convinced. Not one bit.
In the end, the Danes produce some solid power metal, especially the two guitar players Kirk Backarach and JJ Olsen (who played on the record but has now left), but don’t be throwing out your GLORY TO THE BRAVE or KINGS OF METAL records just yet.