Iron Fire – Metalmorphosized (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 20th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Usually ganged up on by critics for their blissfully unaware portrayal of cheesy power metal, Denmark’s Iron Fire are far from the worst thing power metal has to offer. Actually, they have popped out a cluster of good, workmanlike albums, most notably 2007’s Blade of Triumph and last year’s To the Grave. Being that it’s not all that hard to pump out the same album within a year’s time, the band returns with the oddly-titled Metalmorphosized.

Like To the Grave and well, pretty much every other Iron Fire album, the band plays by the book of power metal, serving a healthy dosage of double-bass (see “Riding Through Hell”), the pre-requisite tender ballad (“Crossroads”) and a mix of valiant, catchy numbers (“Still Alive” and “Left For Dead”). Singer Martin Steene sounds less and like Vince Neil with each passing album, which in turns, makes him sound more European than a California pretty boy.

Credit the band for having the balls to tune down, a move that gives their riffs more meat. Granted, this doesn’t mean Iron Fire is wandering off into Nevermore territory, but it does allow opening number “Reborn to Darkness” to have a relatively different feel. “My Awakening” follows suit and emerges as probably the best song of the bunch, as it melds the band’s penchant for crunchy verse sections and valiant melodies. Epic closer “Phantom Symphony” approaches the 10-minute mark, although it tends to thin out rather quickly.

Back when it appeared all of power metal was going right to hell (say, around 2004-2005), a band like Iron Fire wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance in surviving. Somehow, through numerous line-up changes they’ve been able to survive, doing the only thing they know how to do. If metal was a race in reliability, then Iron Fire would be out front, iron a-clanking, probably surprised as anyone they’re still around and out front.

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