Iron Savior - Battering Ram
Germanys premier act when it comes to heavy metal of the more straight forward, mighty kind strikes back with yet another solid release. They have not taken out the turns any more than expected, but have instead concentrated on forging pearls out from the already worked-in concept, instead of trying to develop things in a different direction. From the very first second you hear that this is Iron Savior - the riff, the vocals, the refrain - and it feels just great.
The arrangement follows the same pattern as we are used to from the previous releases: it starts with as much as 4 uptempo power packages in a row, which all are filled with awesome riffs, harmonies and of course catchy refrains that grabs you and fills you with energy and an urge to join the band in singing along. Especially Battering Ram and Tyranny Of Steel are worth mentioning for their brilliant shape. This is followed by a couple of more midtempo, groovy tracks with focus on the more straight metal edge where the more 80's touch to it crawls to the surface. In Break The Curse we can for example clearly sense Sielck's love for Judas Priest. It then spins up in pace again and we are back on track again.
Riding Free is a track in the same veins as Tales Of The Bold on the last album. Fast, furious and you feel like are carried away by a thunderstorm during the whirling refrain. Starchaser is bit heavier track with a pumping riff, and containing a great chorus. This man might have written one, or at most two, weaker tracks in his days, but he never fails with a chorus. He manages to build the most wonderful and breathtaking things out of sometimes just single word textlines.
Machine World once more takes it down a bit, and carry on the tradition of a longer, epic song in the end of the album. This is perhaps another one of those weaker tracks I mentioned earlier and is the sole reason to why the grades for this album stays where they are. H.M. Powered Man closes the whole deal in a marvellous way, being forged in a straight forward, Kai Hansen smelling way and with lyrics praising the only and true way of life - the Heavy Metal way.
As earlier mentioned not much have changed, but one thing to mention is that is has been taken down just a tiny bit to a more simpler structure guitarwise, but at the same time the contrary has happened regarding choruses. They are not more represented than usual, but it feels like they are somwhat richer and juicier. It therefor feels fresh enough to justify another release in the name of Iron Savior. The only thing that you immediatly notice have decreased are the solos and harmonies. They are still here, but not in the abundance we are used to.´
Not until the 4th song Time Will Tell I get a reason to feel that there might be a reusage of his well known way of building riffs, but the great refrain saves the whole deal and gets 2 thumbs up from me. The only reason it doesn't get more is simply because I don't have more of them... But that is really the only point where it feels like a flashback, and it's only for a short part of the song.
Soundwise it's once again mainly based on razorsharp, brilliant riffs and bridges, fills and choruses that are beyond this world. There are noone in the business that composes such catchy slaps in your face like Piet Sielck. Choruses that split in two - sometimes three - parts, twists and turns. Brilliant. Lyrically, the story once again develops a bit and is taking a slightly new turn regading the Iron Savior saga, and this time revolves around an ancient race of robots from the Andromeda nebula, but also around artificial intelligence and our perception of reality. And as with the first album in the bands history, Battering Ram goes beyond the Iron Savior saga and explores topics such as escapism, the aftermaths of terrorism and rebellion against everyday life.
In my eyes Mr. Sielck once more has managed to deliver
a release that are up there and touching at a full scale grade. He has
made it immensly hard for himself by previously realeasing such masterpieces
as Condition Red, Dark Assault and Unification, and it should be basically
impossible to surpass those, which he in fact does not do here - but
he does not fall far behind those either. It is nearly just as damn
good. In the news section on Iron Savior new website we can read that
6 weeks after the mix of the album was ready, the disc still hadn't
left his car cd-player (the only place where he says he listens to music
in private). He apperantly has a good taste.