Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed (AFM Records)Sunday, 10th March 2019
Certain institutions in metal establish their trade early and usually make minor modifications, but only to fine-tune what the listeners love and appreciate about the artists. Case in point: Iron Savior. Sure, many in the early days probably got into the initial discography up to 2001’s Dark Assault because of Kai Hansen and his association with leader Piet Sielck since their teen years – but even with Kai’s departure, the German metal force continued to prove their worth. Kill or Get Killed is the group’s tenth original studio album, following a double CD Reforged – Riding on Fire effort that revisited older songs with the current Iron Savior lineup, welcoming latest drummer Patrick Klose to the fold. And its evident that the steady sci-fi/heavy metal marriage between words and music continues to thrive, sure to add some new favorites to the diet of faithful followers.
Intertwining speedier fare and mid-tempo anthems, this is a band that truly understands the supply and demand aspect of connecting to their audience through catchy riffs, supplementary singalong choruses, and hitting home those grooves/hooks. Even when they choose to be a little more brooding or spacious like the beginning strains of “From Dust and Rubble”, you get the sense that Piet and gentlemen are channeling their inner love of Judas Priest circa the 80’s where synchronized stage moves and four on the floor groove tempos hammered the parts home. The guitar interplay between Joachim Küstner and Piet keeps the energy flow on high, right out of the gate through quick hitting lead harmonies against the speed foundation for the opening title cut as well as the crunchy, low riding Accept-ish action during “Stand Up and Fight” (the Teutonic chorus stellar). Although most of the songs sit in a five-minute pocket, “Until We Meet Again” allows Iron Savior to explore epic terrain, the keyboards providing that outer galaxy vibe against the bluesy clean to electric transference while the instrumental break has an emotive element that carries you to another dimension.
From the red/yellow hues on the Felipe Machado Franco comic-animation style illustration for the cover on through to Piet’s consistency on the vocals, guitars, songwriting, and production end of things, Kill or Get Killed keeps the Iron Savior train rolling along just fine. Metal to the bone, no signs of weakness or creativity losing the plot so to speak, and the fans will assuredly get top value in this record.