Danish power metallers Iron Fire are back after a four year break with their 8th full-length album, Among the Dead. What a triumphant return to the scene. They incorporate their classic sound while adding some meanness and anger, making it the strongest album they’ve ever recorded. While this is a sometimes dangerous mix for power metal, Iron Fire pulls it off with ease. Simply put, this is a record fans will love.
Before I go any further, let me say that this isn’t a traditional-sounding power metal album. Iron Fire’s sound is reminiscent to the more American-style power metal bands, such as Iced Earth and Jag Panzer. The vocals are rougher, the lyrics are darker and the music has elements of traditional and thrash. This is evident in tracks such as “Tornado of Sickness” and “Made to Suffer”. It brings toughness to the genre, but it’s a dangerous tightrope to walk. Iron Fire not only walks it, but does it with incredible ease.
Fear not, my power metal brothers and sisters. Although Among the Dead may be angrier than past Iron Fire records, they still display some of the great European-style sounds that makes the genre so unique and fun. Tracks like “Higher Ground” and “Hammer of the Gods” are those fun-rocking, cheesy-lyric tunes that will make raise your fist and bang your head. There’s even a ballad (sort of) at the end of the record that will give you all the power metal feels.
Although a song or two are a miss, most of the album is quite awesome. The tune that stands out for me, though, is the title track “Among the Dead”. Placed directly after the intro and lyrically based on the zombie apocalypse, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. Well structured, well produced and incredibly catchy, it’s the kind of opening that I’ve come to expect from bands of the genre.
Iron Fire has consistently tried something new with each album, so they are not afraid to roll the dice. With Among the Dead they pushed all the right buttons. It’s been a very good year for power metal, and Iron Fire may have pushed themselves to the top with this record.