Review: Iron Savior – Titancraft
Iron Savior returns in a blaze of glory! This band has been one this writer’s favorites since discovering them with Megatropolis and they have yet to disappoint. In fact, Iron Savior is one of those bands that holds the coveted title of “a band without a single bad tune” and Titancraft keeps this status alive!
Under Siege – It’s the typical intro track expected of an Iron Savior album. Wailing guitars, thumping bass and drums drive the tune, while futuristic synths and an urgent call for help from a raspy, alien-like voice calls for help while under siege. It sets the tone of the album perfectly.
Titancraft – Quick paced, heavy at times and always melodic with soaring vocals and plenty of harmonies, this story-driven track is true to Iron Savior’s style. Concept album junkies will find much to love with this track as it returns to the long running story of the Iron Savior, Atlantis, and constant intergalactic warfare plaguing mankind in the future. One of the absolute highlights of this track is the guitar solo, for it’s made clear very quickly that Piet Sielck and Joachim “Piesel” Küstner haven’t lost their edge since the last album – rather, they’ve sharpened their skills further.
The Way of the Blade – Driven by a powerful rhythm section and heavy guitars, ‘The Way of the Blade’ kicks hard right out the gate. The story is at the forefront of the track telling the story of knights fighting an epic battle for their kingdom at all costs. This story is told through soaring chorus and Sielck’s gravelly vocal style and is heavily reinforced by a catchy chorus and sounds of futuristic battle. Once more, the guitar solos hit hard and make this song all the better. Aside from the lyrics and solos, a notable highlight is when song takes a sudden drop in intensity towards the end for a somber feeling before diving back into the speed and intensity of the battle.
Seize the Day – Opening with another tight riff and thumping bass drum, this song is a little slower than the rest, but it hits all the marks of a killer tune, especially it’s uplifting lyrics that aim to drive the spirit of the listener to victory. Least to say, this one takes a step away from the story, but is no less a great tune. The hum of the bass in the background is a nice touch and the guitars will have you nodding your head as the lyrics lift your spirits. As for the solo, this is power metal defined. Sielck and Küstner show off their shred skills nicely, helping to keep the spirit of this album high as we heading an outstanding fifth track.
Gunsmoke – Opening with the gallop and snarl of a horse followed by the distinctive sound of the legendary Colt ‘Peacemaker’ revolver, we’re sent back to America’s Wild West with a tune about the struggle between the lawmen and outlaws of the frontier. Lyrics like “gunfight in the valley. Let the bullets fly!” send chills down your spine as you imagine a shoot out between outlaws clad in black and a cowboy fixed with a golden star on his shirt. As for the music, the riffs are tight, the leads are memorable, and the drums are heavy on the symbols giving an epic feel, while the band belts out the chorus unison. Once more, the solos show off the shred skills of Sielck and Küstner, but the real highlight are the powerful lyrics that tie into the spirit of the futuristic setting of the Iron Savior canon like “glory to the saviors who came to deliver us all.” Ending with the traditional music of a spaghetti western followed by gunshots and a cowboy muttering “ma’am” as he likely tipped his hat, this song is hands down one of the best yet.
Beyond the Horizon – Kicking off with some hard hitting drums and a heavy, and I mean heavy riff this track hits hard right out from the gate, never letting up for almost a minute. When it does, the song takes a lofty, epic approach to the vocals. It’s not a bad song, but it doesn’t stand out as well as the others. Something seems to be missing here. Of course, this song has its redeeming qualities. The solos are awesome as ever and the drums do very well to not only keep the beat fast, but they simply sound awesome behind the wailing of the lead guitar. Honestly, what makes this song fall into the mid-section of mediocrity is that the album has stuck to a formula up to this point. Fortunately, Iron Savior doesn’t fall into that trap so easily.
The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell – A snarling riff, strong bass, and a driving beat kick up the momentum of the album. Sielck soon joins in with his snarling vocals and the lead takes control with a very NWBHM style not yet seen on this album. Once again, Sielck’s lyrics are powerful, especially “The sun will never rise on you again, because the sun won’t rise in hell.” Overall, this song deviated from the established formula just enough to the keep the album fresh, especially about midway through with the riffing that precedes the very classic rock style guitar solo that comes before the traditional power metal shred. To make things even sweeter, Sielck and Küstner engage in a bit of guitar duel before ending the solo section of the song. All in all, this song does more than keep this album fresh, it kicks it up a few notches.
Strike Down the Tyrant – Now this is power metal! Unbelievably fast, hard hitting, and screaming in every way possible. The power of Sielck’s lyrics is undeniable here with lyrics like “blood will be shed tonight for the sake of the crown and by the morning sun these walls are tumbling down.” and seep with chivalry and duty with “Strike down the tyranny. Bring down the walls. Ride out for victory. Live without remorse!” To say this is one of the best songs on the album does not do it justice; this IS the best song on the album. Everything that makes Iron Savior great is present and exceeds expectations. As I had said before, Iron Savior won’t let this album go stale! Some of the highlights included some of the wildest soloing in the entire Iron Savior discography, powerful and well-written lyrics, and an undying intensity.
Brothers in Arms – It’s hard to live up to a song like ‘Strike Down the Tyrant’ so Iron Savior completely altered their approach for this tune. Taking a slower, more classic Savior sound here ‘Brothers in Arms’ is driven by the power of the lyrics and the vocal performances by Sielck and his harmonies with his compatriots. The return of the futuristic synths that have been largely absent on this album are a welcome addition as they ground the album in the futuristic setting that is the Iron Savior saga. The solos here have an almost neo-classical feel to them. They shred at times, but they’re more about wailing and squealing, which, like the addition of the synths, is a very welcome change of pace.
I Surrender – The album’s ballad, ‘I Surrender’ is a somber tune driven by piano and a downtrodden vocal approach. Sielck nails the sadness of a man defeated by the conflict he is presently embroiled in. It’s a song full of soul and stands out from the pack better than anything that has come before it. As such, the guitar solos cry out like a man giving in to his pain, thus giving this song a bleeding heart quality. Whether you love or hate ballads, this song is an important piece of this album as it shows a whole different side of Iron Savior and shows the range of this band. It’s definitely a personal favorite.
Rebellious – Showing the exact opposite of the last track, ‘Rebellious’ is a fight song through and through. The lyrics demand that the listener stands up for their beliefs and yield to no one in their quest to be an individual. This powerful message is driven by pounding drums, inspiring harmonies, soaring solos, and chugging riffs. While not the best song on the album and perhaps a little cliché, ‘Rebellious’ is a strong ending for ‘Titancraft’ and will have you banging your head and raising your fist in the air as you singing along. It’s definitely going to be one of the band’s hits and I look forward to belting it out along with Sielck and the boys when I see them live!
With ‘Titancraft’ Iron Savior keeps their tradition of putting out great record after great record alive and well. While it may be a little light on the futuristic story that we’ve become accustomed to with ‘Dark Assault’ and ‘Unification’ it’s a damn good album with plenty of surprises and genre spanning material. If you had any doubt going into this album you can rest easy; this album is sure to please every Iron Savior fan. 9.75/10