Review : IRON FIRE – “Metalmorphosized”

Iron FireMetalmorphosized
Release Date: 2010Oct12 (US)
Label: Napalm Records
Rating: 3/5

Let’s get this out of the way: the album title is contrived overwrought silliness, as is the artwork. But do the Danes have the music to match? This is their sixth try in a decade, and while they appreciably stay on the darker side of power metal, I seldom seek them out. I actually wish Metalmorphosized was composed the way it’s titled, because the tunes themselves are underwrought.

The sole constant member is vocalist Martin Steen, and many songs seem to revolve around him, but doubling the Martinic assault is bassist Martin Lund, who has been on board since their 2006 “comeback” Revenge.  He performs backing vocals along with longtime guitarist Kirk Backarach, who also handles most keyboard duties. Returning drummer Fritz Wagner rounds out a group that once almost dissolved as soon as solidifying.

He is responsible for much of the relentless forward drive, and it takes a while before they vary things, but “The Underworld” features effective instrumental portions that play like DragonForce on Ritalin. “Crossroad” is a ballad with female vocal accompaniment that sounds like a lame literal interpretation of the cover art. Not interested. “Riding Through Hell” did little to reel me back in, but I like the backup vocals from the other members that surface on “Left for Dead” and “The Graveyard”. “My Awakening” and “Drowning in Blood” gallop through similar motions, and while capable on their own, when played back-to-back toward the end of an album, they run the risk of boring before reaching “The Phantom Symphony” climax. The near-10 minute symphonic opus finds Iron Fire forging as best they can, but it never goes completely over the top, and drags you along in anticipation of such.

If playing safe is your game, then Iron Fire is a good bet, but they get your fist pumping without purpose. Not that everything needs to have some deep philosophical message—and only fools would seek that here—but I sense lack while listening. The quality of what a band needs for success is elusive; all I know is Iron Fire needs more, but what of?

FCC OK
Try 1, 5, 8, 9

01. Reborn To Darkness
02. Nightmare
03. Still Alive
04. Back In The Pit
05. The Underworld
06. Crossroad
07. Riding Through Hell
08. Left For Dead
09. The Graveyard
10. My Awakening
11. Drowning In Blood
12. The Phantom Symphony

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