Iron Savior is a German power metal band that follow this cool, but kind of cheesy story about a space vessel called the Iron Savior and how it is somehow related to the city of Atlantis. This album – more like a live/EP - in particular was my first ever venture into metal music, so you can only imagine how much nostalgia I feel when I put this on. I bought this at a local record store one day in my early years of ignorance (before I was a teenager). At that time, I would've been mostly listening to Great Big Sea and other bands that a stereotypical Canadian would be listening to in the mid 2000’s. Since this was my first ever experience with metal music, I probably would have given this album a 100% if I was grading it at the time of first encounter, but over the years of expanding my metal collection, I realize, like most albums, that there are a few flaws with this.
is a half live album half EP that has a pretty powerful looking album cover with the cool orange logo that is present on all of their album covers - excluding their 3 newest albums. One thing you’ll notice about these songs is that they are very formulaic and cheesy, but – like most power metal bands – they have this very epic sound to them. The first 5 tracks on the album are live songs from their debut self-titled LP; the song Watcher in the Sky is a cover of a Gamma Ray song that the former lead guitarist Kai Hansen wrote on the album Somewhere Out in Space
. These songs are fairly good performed live, but, like most live albums, they lack the same feeling of greatness that can only be accomplished in a studio. They have very predictable song structures and hearing a minute of each song will give you the entire basis for what the rest of the music will sound like. They don’t do anything to distinguish themselves from other power metal bands; they don’t put their own touch of originality on these songs. In saying this, these songs are pretty average live songs and they only warrant at least one listen if not at all. Just listen to the studio versions.
Contortions of Time is the first studio track on here and it is probably the best song in their discography. It has pretty much all of the characteristics of a regular power metal song; however they put their own spin on this song. The music is fast and powerful with vocals that sound larger than life and echoed making it very spatial and guitars that sound very cosmic as well. Touching the Rainbow is a slower song that pretty much has the same formula as the last song, but it has some of the cheesiest lyrics: “Touching the rainbow / fly up and away / Escape from the Shadow / the night’s always followed by day.
”. The lyrics on this song make it more laughable than it should be, because musically and vocally it is a really good song. Stonecold, though, is probably the worst song on the album as it just sounds like a weak metal ballad – especially the chorus (shudder). Nothing about this song is redeeming; it is very predictable, cheesy and all around just a poorly written song. The Hatchet of War goes back to the same epic fast pace of Contortions of Time and it is probably tied for the best song on the album. The fast metal intro is amazing after the little electronic interlude at the very start of the song. The vocals are very strong on this song and the lyrics on this song are more or less nostalgic than corny and that makes it more enjoyable. The solos are very melodic and prominent here, and the sound effects in the second verse are pretty compelling. Overall this is just a really strong song. The last song is just a cover of Judas Priest`s Desert Plains. While the song is really good, it is kind of a weak closer to the album.
Overall this is a pretty average EP/live album. The overwhelming nostalgia of this album is kind of forcing a better grade because there are moments that will be absolute power metal bliss and other moments that are just a bore or just unenjoyable. It’s worth checking out, though. For a power metal album it is alright with the songs ranging to being pretty average to excellent; there are none that are just good. It makes you visualize a setting of being in space encountering UFO's, exploring the cosmos or trying to defend the galaxy from invaders. This band has some really satisfying albums though like, Unification
or Dark Assault
which are better than this, so don't give up on this band just from this one EP. They are a very good power metal band, just don’t expect too much from this album.