Iron Fire
Blade of Triumph

Iron Fire’s last record, Revenge, came as a pleasant surprise to me. I plugged it into my CD player fully expecting another typical European power metal record, but what I got was a little tougher, more in the vein of Manowar. So I came into this record with higher expectations.

I was a little concerned after opener “Dragonheart” which is another version of that song. You know the one, the fast song with the soaring chorus vocals that’s on every power metal album, usually three or four times and always, always sounds the same. So, I’m left scratching my head, thinking about a band I remembered that was more influenced by traditional metal and had a little more edge. I didn’t scratch long. The thrashy opening of “Bloodbath of Knights” brought it right back to me. I’m happy to report that band’s still here.

The battle march continues on the epic “Dawn of Victory,” which takes a Manowar-ish riff and puts a little more growl behind it (perhaps from the Nordstrom production). It’s the kind of riff that makes you want to beat your bare chest and prepare yourself for battle, which is, of course, exactly what the band’s going for. In fact, that opening riff wouldn’t be at all out of place on an Amon Amarth record. There’s another nice marching riff, though not quite as heavy, in “Jackal’s Eye,” which also has some nice Maiden-ish guitar work. Perhaps the most original tune here is “Gladiator’s Path,” which blends elements of traditional and power metal with some classic 1970s arena rock sound.

There are more typical power metal tunes to be found here than on Revenge with “Dragonheart,” “Bridges to Burn,” “Steel Invaders” and “Blade of Triumph.” Some, like “Steel Invaders,” get a little more grit from guitarists Kirk Backarach and Jobbe J. than the usual power metal fare, but they still come off sounding like songs you’ve heard quite a few times.

Ballads were the biggest problem on the last record, and that holds true here. “Follow the Sign,” though not completely a ballad, starts as one and kicks into a really dated 1980s sounding song. “Legend of the Magic Sword,” (I know you’re groaning, but wait until you hear the rest.) a song about King Arthur, is not as bad as it could have been, but everything they did to move their image out of Dungeons and Dragons territory on “Dawn of Victory,” they undid with this one song.

Still, Blade of Triumph is an entertaining collection of guitar-driven power metal with no overbearing keyboards, which is a real plus in my book. It’s not as good as Revenge, but it keeps Iron Fire in a shrinking class of power metal bands that still have the power to excite.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
June 18th, 2007

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