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Iron Savior - "Rise Of The Hero" (CD)

Iron Savior - "Rise Of The Hero" CD cover image

"Rise Of The Hero" track listing:

1. Ascendence (Intro)
2. Last Hero
3. Revenge of the Bride
4. From Far Beyond Time
5. Burning Heart
6. Thunder from the Mountains
7. Iron Warrior
8. Dragon King
9. Dance With Somebody (Mando Diao Cover)
10. Firestorm
11. The Demon
12. Fistraiser

Reviewed by on June 9, 2014

"If there is one thing that Piet Sielck excels at, its chest beating metal choruses that soar in both escalation and emotion."

I recall reviewing Iron Savior’s 2012 “comeback” release “The Landing” and beaming with metallic pride at one of my heroes returning to the scene. However, with “Rise of the Hero” out this year, “The Landing” almost sounds like Manowar by comparison….because what Piet Sielck has done this time is outdo his entire back catalog and just about every other power metal band.

In terms of pure power metal the way it was intended, “Rise of the Hero” slays the competition along with deadly offerings by country mates Gamma Ray, Primal Fear, Evertale and Sinbreed, as Germany relentlessly shakes the title belt that hangs far above a trio of ladders stretched high above the squared circle in the power wrestling match called 2014. The “hero” may have “risen” first this year, but Iron Savior may just have the last laugh in the end.

If there is one thing that Piet Sielck excels at, its chest beating metal choruses that soar in both escalation and emotion. “Rise of the Hero” has no shortage of brilliant melodic choruses – the best of which are represented in “Last Hero,” “Burning Heart” and the best song on the release “Thunder From the Mountains.” There just seems to be such a sense of bravado with this album. With “The Landing,” Sielck made his return, and now with “Rise of the Hero” he has made his mark again with the same effect that the 1997 self-titled debut and 2001’s third album “Dark Assault” had. He went for it all and scored big, while in the process took the entirety of his experience and credibility and schooled the youngsters into what power metal is all about.

The only let up in an otherwise battering assault is the mid-paced builder “The Demon” and the cover of Mando Diao’s “Dance With Somebody,” the latter which seems oddly out of place in the release. Those aside, the album sets a blistering pace…with the opener “Last Hero,” “Iron Warrior” and “Firestorm” filling in the gaps with the usual high end concoction of old Blind Guardian, Accept, Judas Priest and Gamma Ray – though Sielck bows to no other band, having blazed a trail all his own.

Sound wise, “Rise of the Hero” has all the trademarks one can expect from a Piet Sielck produced album - grinding guitar riff sound and pristine clarity. Iron Savior is the quintessential guitar band, catering and worshiping the instrument as the ultimate weapon of metal. Felipe Machado Franco has become the artist of choice as his work does have a very distinctive style and pretty much anyone can detect his album covers the moment you see them – usually consisting of a central character rising from a busy background filled with blues and greens in a bit of a “Dutch tilt.” Ever present is the spherical vessel for which Iron Savior was named and conceived.

Where “The Landing” re-established Iron Savior as a power metal force to be reckoned with again back in 2011, Piet Sielck has reaffirmed his legendary status with “Rise of the Hero,” an album that goes for the throat and leaves none denying that the Germans have risen again. The album is not the absolute most perfect moment in a long career, but it comes awfully close and power metal fans need to put this one towards the top of a crowded wish list in 2014.

Highs: Mastermind Piet Sielck really goes for the jugular. A fantastic power metal display.

Lows: The Mando Diao cover is a fun change, but seems oddly out of place.

Bottom line: A hero rises again...By Piet!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)