Iron Fire
To the Grave

When among some other promo discs to be reviewed I caught sight of To The Grave, the new album by Danish Power Metal five-piece Iron Fire, I didn’t feel deliriously happy at the thought I had to look into this doing. Honestly, I had never had a high regard for this band’s previous attempts and didn’t even remember listening to one of them from start to finish. So it really came out of the blue when I found myself not wiling to push the stop button, as the new songs happened to be catchy enough to keep me interested and headbanging involuntarily for the most part.

Of course, I still could have a good laugh at the cheesy lyrics and earnestness these guys are bursting with while doing their stuff, but the music itself is so well-crafted and sincere it pushes anything else to the back burner. In most of the songs the guys hold on to the simple yet reliable formula easily hooking you with the help of memorable tunes, powerful charismatic singing from the band’s leader Martin Steene and a whole lot of infectious rhythms and riffs. And I should say they really get away with this little scheme, for there is hardly at least one track that doesn’t have what it takes to be a model Power Metal hit.

Sumptuous leads never ceasing to catch you off guard with another unexpected move live their own intense life and not just provide required musical decoration. Heroic verses and fanfare choruses perfectly falling in with martial rhythms are destined to run in your mind for ever once you’ve heard them. A vocalist not afraid to occasionally depart from vibrating a bit raspy tenor to slightly veiled Death Metal snarls adds considerably to the emotional impact of this disc. Even keyboards chiefly playing the most passive role here sometimes make themselves more than conspicuous and carry you along with their sorcery. And while each song in this album’s arsenal is worth mentioning, I would call “The Battlefield” and “Doom Riders” as my personal favorites. While the former features the most contagious verse and refrain bolstered up by the great arrangement and damn excellent collaboration between the leads and drums, the latter acts like witchcraft of sorts casting a spell on you with its demonically beautiful guitar “permutations” and somewhat irregular rhythms. But both are downright great metal pieces, to my mind.

Thus, to my great surprise, I was absolutely taken aback by what I initially almost forced myself to give a try. And without any exaggeration, To The Grave laid it on the line that these Danes have grown into a serious force capable of joining Hammerfall, Crystal Eyes, Grave Digger, Helloween, Paragon and some others on the podium of the Power Metal Elite. Keep up the good work, guys!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
April 8th, 2009

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