Martin Steene - Iron Fire
As the millenium warriors - Iron Fire - unleash the Blade Of Triumph this month, be prepared to be defleshed by their vengeance from hellish crossfire! Thus, stigmatized by the mettle, I felt it most befitting to again get in touch with the warrior of steel, himself: Mr. Martin Steene and witness his iron force of will, behind the mirror. This prince of agony has endured much censuring, paying a heavy price in blood; but, his dragonheart has persistantly prevalied, and his thunderspirit has truly triumphed. The new album is a pure metal victory, a sonic thunderstorm which will carry the listener over the edge. If you thought last year's Revenge was a savage prophecy resounding Odin's call; just wait to you hear the new release which harks back to the glory days of Blind Guardian and Hammerfall; daring to break the spell of power metal monotony. The dawn of victory is at hand, so join me on the gladiator's path, right into the abyss....
MettleAngel: Greetings again Martin, if you recall, we spoke last year, when the new CD - Revenge - was released. I so enjoyed that album. When I received my promo for Blade Of Triumph, I was astonished at how truly awesome it is. This is the way, I feel true power metal should sound. If fans loved Revenge and Thunderstorm, just wait until they hear this! I am so glad that you stayed true to your mettle and finally released another rippin' CD, and so soon! Did you work extra hard to achieve what, in my opinion, is one of the best power metal releases of the year? Had you always planned to keep Iron Fire going; especially after you joined and became the vocalist for Force of Evil? Are you aware of your band's popularity and noteriety, here in the States?
MettleAngel: So is Iron Fire your priority now, or do you balance your time between both bands?
MettleAngel: So alcoholic induced metal,
how true to your steel! I'm sure this assisted in the mode of inspiration
for lyrics as well. As I listen to the CD, I notice certain references
to several movies I've seen lately. When I hear songs like "Bloodbath
Of Knights", I'm reminded of Anton Fuqua's: King Arthur with Clive
Owen; and when I hear "Gladiator's Path", it seems to be influenced
by the movie with Russel Crowe. Have major epics on the big screen influenced
you lyrical approach?
MettleAngel: So you translate the lyrical themes vicariously. You won't brandish a sword in your everyday life, but watching your heroes on the screen, or reading about them in an epic fantasy empowers you to place yourself into the lyrics you write as a main character.
MettleAngel: Then essentially, Iron Fire, tends to transcend the "Dungeons & Dragon" motif, what inspires you lyrically, other than movies? I know that lyrical admiration for Force Of Evil is derived by your affinity for horror flicks. How does this differ when you write the words for Iron Fire?
MettleAngel: Absolutely, I love metal lyrics! Manowar set the precedent, and power metal artists have carried the torch ever since. This brings me to the song: Legend Of The Magic Sword, to me, this seems like a reference to Excalibur; what made you choose to do this as a Medieval Canticle? This is not really a ballad, per se', correct?
MettleAngel: Yes, I know, the music scene is always evolving, and when On The Edge came out, fans were just not ready for a new approach in song writing. Legend Of The Magic Sword will appeal to fans of Falconer, as well as Grave Digger. I really must say that the music on "Blade Of Triumph" is a true power metal triumph! The playing and performance, even transcends recent efforts by Hammerfall, Nocturnal Rites, Nostadameus, Twilight Guardians, and their ilk; you were so criticized for "On The Edge", how does it feel knowing you truly have recaptured the Power Metal majesty?
MettleAngel: You make a really good point there. Life teaches us all valuable lessons. So in some respect, On The Edge may be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Do you feel, like I and my brethren do, that power metal has become too wimpy, and stagnated? Only certain bands like Gamma Ray, Gaia Epicus, Freedom Call, etc. keep making raging albums, with memorable anthems.
MettleAngel: What a lesson to learn too! I agree, the only person you can control in this world is yourself, so seek your joy, and let all else just be. For you personally, what is the meaning of the "Blade Of Triumph"? Do I detect some double-entendre? Last year, you reaped your revenge, now you truly have earned your triumph, even if you have been held under the blade!
MettleAngel: The old: "Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!", mentality; you really can not be more mettle than that! Martin, do you feel like you have solidified the perfect line-up of true metal musicians now playing in Iron Fire?
MettleAngel: More to life than Metal, hardly, Metal is Life! No seriously, metal is what keeps us all going, it is what keeps us alive. Is the Danish metal scene thriving again for bands of your caliber? It seems like the most popular acts, other than Mercyful Fate, tend to be death metal artists; is there a viable market for power metal, like there is in Sweden & Germany?
MettleAngel: I know what you mean, I so prefer bands with a... dare I say... commercial approach. I want the songs to stick with me after several listens; there has to be a contagion to the melody. This is why I was surprised when Leif of Candlemass preferred Machine Head and Mastodon to Therion. Iron Fire truly has that edge, with no compromise; in some respects you have even surpassed Manowar, whose latest CD was such a disappointment. Are you fully concentrated on Iron Fire, or are you also writing music for a future release by Force Of Evil?
MettleAngel: I'm not a fan of HIM, but I do like older Sentenced, and newer Tiamat, so I will definitely check out the link, and add you to our friends list. I am really excited about seeing Paradise Lost this fall with Nightwish too. I'll be curious to hear how you adapt your power metal range to a more gothic brooding tamber. Speaking of tours, you still have not visited America. Do you think that with the success of this new release, there is any chance of coming to America? Now that Persuader, Sacred Steel, & Firewind, are all coming here for their inaugural visits, we sure would love to see Iron Fire as well, then I could actually speak with you in person.
MettleAngel: Well then I'll magnetize that! Finally, in closing, do you have any comments for those insecure critics who dismissed you in the past, and maligned your mettle? I seem to be the only reviewer who liked "On The Edge". So many metal bands profess their love for Motley Crüe; hell even Sabaton named the song referring to their favourite metal acts as "Metal Crüe"; I just don't know why that release was so censured among reviewers. I guess timing is everything, just look at Dragonforce!
MettleAngel: Now that is what we want to hear! Martin, my man of steel and well tested iron in the fire of pure mettle, thank you again for taking some time to indulge me. I so look forward to meeting you in person one day!