Iron Savior – “Kill or Get Killed”

 Posted by on February 17, 2019 at 17:15  Add comments
Feb 172019
 

Power metal masters Iron Savior return with 10 new tracks filled with fast riffs, blazing solos, lots of hooks and great vocals in a release sure to please existing fans and win over new ones.

Formed in 1996 by Piet Sielck  and other ex-Helloween members, Iron Savior has released now 13 albums of material including a live CD/DVD and a re-recorded best of album, Reforged –Riding the Fire (2017).  As a result, the band needs little introduction to those familiar with European metal or power metal in general.  Over the years, the lineup around Piet has changed, but he has continually found members with exquisite skills and ability to complement his style and vision.   Throughout their history, the band has combined science fiction with their distinctive take on the the NWOBHM sound and Kill or Get Killed is no exception with the somewhat darker concept being inspired by Piet’s reading of the book “The Star of Pandora” which is about the destruction of humanity by an alien civilization.  Once again, the overall sound was polished to a metal perfection by Piet at his Powerhouse Studios.

Kill or Get Killed wastes no time blasting right into the first track and setting the tone for the rest of the album. Jan S. Eckert on bass and Patrick Klose on drums provide a solid rhythm at a torrid pace while the guitars of Piet and Piesel Küstner sound out some great riffs and leads.  Piet’s vocals are as strong as ever and the gang vocals on the backing choruses are epic in nature, a perfect fit for the songs.  Production is clean and well-mixed to the point that even though the guitars are the main driving point in the sound, one can’t help but notice things like the insanely fast double bass from Klose and his changes as the song progresses.  This is Iron Savior in its prime and the track seems to carry more life and fire than those of the last studio album of new material Titancraft.

“Roaring Thunder” opens up a bit differently as the band makes full use of the two guitarists in the opening section featuring a great riff and a lead over the top.  Similar to “Kill or Get Killed”, the song opens up with some great guitar riffs and then the guitars fade a bit to the background for the verse sections of the songs and either return in force or slowly add back as the song or verse progresses.  In these quieter times, is when the strength of the rhythm section really comes through.  Having two guitarists with a lot of talent, proves to be a great situation as they each can lay down blistering solos and then add in some harmony solo sections as well, harkening back to the 80’s era metal.

For those who have listened to Iron Savior in the past, this collection of songs will seem familiar and new at the same time.  At a high level, there is a discernible formula for the songs, but the strength of performances, quality of the sound, and some of the little touches added keep everything sounding fresh and powerful.  For my ears, Kill or Get Killed takes me back to my first exposure to Iron Savior, when I reviewed Rise of the Hero.  That album made me an instant fan and left me wondering how I had missed Iron Savior for so long.  Since then, I’ve also covered Live at the Final Fronteir, Titancraft, and Reforged – Riding on Fire and none of those left me with quite the same feeling as Rise of the Hero despite being very good albums.  In contrast, Kill or Get Killed seems to hit all the right buttons and easily passes those releases.  Once one song ends, my ears eagerly anticipate the next and since every song literally explodes into existence, there is no real waiting for songs to take off.  Riffs are perhaps a bit darker and heavier than in the past, like in “Stand up and Fight”, but it’s a subtle difference.

What is possibly the great attraction to this album is that at various points, I pick up elements of sound and song composition of other great bands like Rainbow, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden to name a few, but at the same time the songs are unmistakenly Iron Savior.  As a bonus track, the band apply their unique style and approach to the old AC/DC song “Sin City” off 1978’s Powerage album, and really make it their own with a much fuller overall sound than the stripped-down original and while Piet does not force the issue through most of the song, his vocals do have a bit more Bon Scott tone and roughness than one hears on the Iron Savior originals.  A the midpoint in both versions, there is just a bass and vocals section and that is where Piet really starts channeling the Bon Scott sound, paying homage to the original.  Great choice for a cover track as a bonus since the two bands have a different general approach to sound.

Iron Savior never cease to amaze and have brought back the fire in their sound to surpass their last releases, which is an amazing feat considering their consistent high level of performance.  This is an album that to their existing audience is a great addition to their library while at the same time will serve to inspire a new generation of fans.

Rating: 10/10

Written by John Jackson

Tracklisting:
01 Kill Or Get Killed
02 Roaring Thunder
03 Eternal Quest
04 From Dust And Ruble
05 Sinner Or Saint
06 Stand Up And Fight
07 Heroes Ascending
08 Never Stop Believing
09 Until We Meet Again
10 Legends Of Glory
11 Sin City (AC/DC-Cover; Bonustrack)

Band Members
Jan Sören Eckert : Bass guitar
Patrick Klose: Drums
Piesel Küstner: Guitar
Piet Sielck: Guitar&Vocals

Albums:
“Iron Savior” (EP) 1997
“Iron Savior” 1997
“Coming Home (Single) 1998
“Unification” 1999
“Interlude” (EP) 1999
“I’ve Been to Hell” (Single) 2000
“Dark Assault ” 2001
“Condition Red” 2002
“Battering Ram” 2004
“Megatropolis” 2007
“The Landing” 2011
“Rise of the Hero” 2014 [review]
“Live at the Final Frontier” 2015 [review]
“Titancraft” [review]

Release Date: March 8th. 2019

Record Label: AFM Records

Lyric video for ‘Roaring Thunder’

Video for ‘Eternal Quest’

 

 

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