Released: 2005, Lion Music
Dushan Petrossi, songwriter and guitarist in the band Magic Kingdom, has now released his second release under his solo project Iron Mask.. HORDES OF THE BRAVE is the title and with a couple big name (in the power metal scene) guest musicians, namely Oliver Hartmann, who guests on 3 songs, and Richard Andersson, who contributes the albums keyboard solos, the album might raise at least a few eyebrows.
Iron Mask is band that is rather typical of their style, neo-classical power metal, and for some that might be a good thing. When you are entering what is essentially over charted waters you better be writing some damn good music and with Iron Mask this certainly isn’t the case. While this isn’t low end, low grade stuff there isn’t a whole lot to rouse one’s attention aside from the guest musicians or if one is already a fan of Magic Kingdom and needs a Petrossi fix.
The album opens with what I thought was a Rhapsody song in “Holy War”. It sounds very reminiscent of one of the songs on DAWN OF VICTORY, most specifically the intro with keyboard/guitar play and the chorus with, “Holy War, Holy War, Holy War!”. This particular song is actually quite good, I generally find that I at least mildly enjoy up tempo power metal, regardless of how generic it really is. Some of the slightly heavier riffing is a nice touch, to keep things from getting too fluffy. “Freedom’s Blood – The Patriot” is a bit more toned down in the neo-classical department and takes some pretty straightforward chugging riffs and mixes it with some melodic riffs going into the chorus. Saving much of the neo-classical and keyboard wankery for the solo trade off about midway through, might make the song a little easier to swallow for those that like slightly heavier power metal. As evidenced by the next two songs, “The Invisible Empire” and “High in the Sky” it’s when the band slows down that the songs just become downright boring. “The Invisible Empire” has Oliver Hartmann’s first appearance on the album, but it’s not really notable for any other reason. “High in the Sky” is just an uninteresting ballad.
From this point on it becomes obvious that if you’re dead set on listening to something decent that you should probably just skip through the album and listen to the faster songs. While they aren’t mind-blowing, they at least get the job done. So I’ll save you guys some time and say that these are the songs to listen to, “Holy War”, “Freedom’s Blood – The Patriot”, “Demon’s Child”, “Time”, and “Troops of Avalon”.
Iron Mask are stereotypical power metal, not overly fluffy, but enough that it’s noticeable but that isn’t the problem, the problem is a lack of above average songwriting. The musicianship is obviously there and they have a great vocalist in Goets Mohre the songwriting just fails at creating something better than average.