Reviewed: January, 2020
Released: 2020, Divebomb Records
Reviewer: Jack Merry
American heavy metallers Ironflame will release their third full-length album ‘Blood Red Victory’ in February on Divebomb Records. Written, recorded and mixed by Andrew D’Cagna (with guitar leads by Quinn Lukas and Jesse Scott) over three months, ‘Blood Red Victory’ finds Ironflame thrusting their own brand of triumphant heavy metal anthems upon us.
Consisting of ten tracks and clocking in at just over fifty minutes, ‘Blood Red Victory’ is a fist-pumping collection of classic heavy metal music, fitting nicely somewhere between Iron Maiden and Grave Digger, with dashes of Hammerfall for good measure. The razor sharp riffing of opener “Gates of Evermore” leads the charge with a relentless, full throttle, pounding rhythm, and it’s not long before D’Cagna’s powerful vocals appear, telling tales of riding into battle in the fight for victory.
Thematically the album doesn’t vary much, if at all, as is often the case with this particular style of ‘battle’ metal, so ‘Blood Red Victory’ gets no points for originality, however it’s conveyed with such conviction and sheer talent that it’s hard to knock down too much. Regarding the theme, D’Cagna has this to say:
“There is a recurring theme of victory in the lyrics for this album. Some songs have an air of chest-out confidence; others are about overcoming adversaries or even adversity itself. Most have been written from a ‘we/us’ perspective, which makes the listener feel like, ‘We’re in this together.'”
Tracks like “Honor Bound” and “On Ashen Wings” are suitably epic and support D’Cagna’s statement, with huge guitars, rumbling rhythm parts and fantasy and medieval imagery conjured up throughout, all aided by crystal clear production. “Seekers of the Blade” is a Maiden-esque journey through the heavy metal realm, and “Graves of Thunder” is just as brooding and epic as its title suggests.
‘Blood Red Victory’ is a record chock-full of powerful melodies, sublime guitar solos, incredible vocal work and crisp production, brimming with talent. However, the record lacks in originality and the ‘battle cry’ mission statement grows old just over half way through the album. I do have the same problems with other bands like this, such as Sabaton and Hammerfall. Due to the singular nature of the entire album’s subject matter, it gets tiring, despite the band’s clear passion and talent poured into their music.
One of the things I like most about this record is the simple yet stunning cover artwork. It’s rare to see a fantasy themed artwork as stripped back as this, and it’s a refreshing change. The cover is gorgeous, with it’s striking contrasting colours and simple lettering. Ironflame aren’t messing around.
This is an album worth checking out, if classic heavy metal with a fantasy edge is your tankard of mead. There’s plenty to enjoy on ‘Blood Red Victory’, but some may find it better in short bursts.
1. Gates of Evermore
2. Honor Bound
3. Seekers of the Blade
4. Blood Red Cross
5. On Ashen Wings
6. Graves of Thunder
7. Grace and Valor
8. Night Queen
9. The Serpent and the Throne (Bonus track, CD only)
10. Horns Held High (Bonus track, CD only)
Andrew D’Cagna – Vocals and music
Quinn Lukas – Guitar solos
Jesse Scott – Guitar solos
Live Performance Lineup:
Andrew D’Cagna – Vocals
Quinn Lukas – Guitars
Jesse Scott – Guitars
James Babcock – Bass
Noah Skiba – Drums