Iron Savior was one of the first bands I heard back when I was beginning my journey into the metal underground. Since that fateful day the band has always had regular spins from me and has never let me down with subsequent releases. I also feel lucky to have seen them on what I believe is still the only UK appearance at Bloodstock indoor in 2005. I've been looking forward to a new Iron Savior record since being blown away by the last release, 2007's Megatropolis.
For those who don't know Iron Savior, the band was formed by the legend Kai Hansen, Piet Sielck and Thomen Staunch (ex-Blind Guardian). With lyrics at first based solely on a science fiction story involving the legend of Atlantis and a giant space-faring vessel which gives the band its name, the band played a hard -edged power metal style with Hansen's high vocals contrasting magnificently with the deeper, grittier voice of Sielck. They recorded the first EP and album in 1997. The band has undergone many lineup changes, including the departure of Hansen and Stauch but this has not affected the band at all. Minimal style changes and a sound very much their own has allowed Savior to go from strength to strength with each new album arguably surpassing the last.
With The Landing Sielck and co unleash their seventh album. Unsurprisingly, not a great deal has changed. A bass heavy sound rumbles forth from the speakers complimenting Sielck's characteristic vocals perfectly. Minimal keyboards occasionally add a little extra dimension to the music but never dominate as is the norm in many Euro-power metal bands. Its fair to say that I liked this album the moment I put it on.
That being said, even I have to admit that The Landing isn't quite on the level of previous albums. All of the qualities of Iron Savior are there but there are no songs that truly stick in your memory. Every Iron Savior album previously has one, if not more, absolute gems. However, I'm struggling to really remember any of the songs on this album even just moments after hearing them. Five times I've played this so far and I still can't recall a single riff! Obviously the songs are not bad, far from it, they're all enjoyable, solid slabs of metal. However, none of them has the x factor that would make them a must-hear classic.
Actually, there is one songs that sticks in my mind, only that's because I don't like it! The album's penultimate track, Before The Pain, is a ballad. To me it just seems out of place and nothing about it tugs at the emotions at all, something which I think is the purpose of a ballad! Probably Iron Saviorr's worst song in my opinion. Still, its short and doesn't detract too much from the album and heck, every band is allowed one bad song!
So, The Landing is overall not a classic but it is a good, solid album that won't disappoint anyone. That it doesn't live up to the legacy of Unification, Condition Red or Megatropolis is slightly disappointing but hell, I still enjoyed it and expect it to rack up a great many plays over the coming years!