Review Summary: While it is a stepping stone to greater things, it's still solid in its own right.
Iron Mask is definitely a band that deserves credit. Through numerous changes to the line-up, the band has pushed out four albums which stand to deserve high acclaim amongst neo-classical metal fans. As Dushan Petrossi's composition skills have improved, the band simply seems to be getting better and better. Clearly, much progress has been made from their first album, Revenge Is My Name
. However, does this make Revenge Is My Name a weak album, or one not worthy of being regarded alongside the band's discography? Not in the slightest.
Any elements that one would expect to hear from a typical Iron Mask release can be found. The composition of each song evokes a whimsical and epic feeling, noticeable throughout the album. This is aided by the expert use of interludes strewn about, adding well to the overall listening experience. Tracks such as The Wolf and the Beast
are speedy and exhilarating, while Alien Pharao
shows that the band is still capable of maintaining an interesting song at a slower pace.
The greatest issue present are minor missteps here and there that bog down the album slightly. Guitar work is as technical as one would expect having listened to later releases from the band, however the production values are poor and often lead to the notes becoming muddied and somewhat unclear. In addition, the vocalist's performance is sub-par for the band. While still passable, he proves to struggle keeping up during moments of high speed and intensity. While his voice excels during slower moments focused more on emotion, the band thrives during the aforementioned moments of high speed. The band manages to balance itself out on these missteps. This leads to, overall, an enjoyable experience. However, it is nowhere near the same level as the later releases from the band, as they have proven that they are capable of bypassing these flaws completely.
It's hard to fault Iron Mask much on this release. It's still a very solid album with plenty going for it. Had the later albums not completely overshadowed it, this would come highly recommended. However, due to the later albums being superior, this is only really an essential listen if the rest of the Iron Mask discography is unavailable.
The Wolf and the Beast