Ironflame – Blood Red Victory Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryUSA (Ohio)
Runtime39:47
Release Date7 February 2020
Record LabelDivebomb

US power metal warriors Ironflame have thundered forth with their third album in four years, Blood Red Victory. Within, you will find eight testosterone-fueled metal hymns of epic aggression. The album is grittier than their previous two works, but it retains that same centurion spirit which Ironflame command so easily.

On a side note, I think I’m throwing around the word “them” a bit too much, because Ironflame’s studio lineup is a one-man show. It’s the product of the mutitalented Andrew D’Cagna, who has proven himself to be a true metal man, through-and-through. Personally, I’m not usually a fan of one-man albums because they just seem to be lacking something (Devin Townsend would be a perfect example of this), but Blood Red Victory is such a fucking banger that I don’t even care. As far as I’m considered, D’Cagna is actually just a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude. (Tropic Thunder anyone?)

Anyway, back to the album. This is exactly what I picture when I hear the term “US power metal”. It’s got that classic metal aesthetic combined with modern power metal energy and, well, it’s fucking powerful. There’s a great mix of tracks, from fast drivers to slower, more foreboding tracks like ‘Blood Red Cross’. One of the best things about Blood Red Victory, though, if the fact that you could start with literally any track and get hooked on the album right away. Each song is fucking sick. Simple as that.

And then we get to those fucking guitars. Every track goes from sick riff to sick riff. Seriously. From the first seconds of the opener to the album’s demise, it’s a shitshow of a riffshow. And I barely need to mention how killer the solos are.

On top of the relentless shredding of the guitars, the melodies are simplistic yet memorable, which gives a bit of that Iron Maiden treatment to the songs, where you know full well the isn’t much to the melody yet you’ll happily find yourself wanting to belt them out (in my own not-so-humble opinion, these are the best types of melody). While some of my favourites are in ‘Seekers of the Blade’ and ‘On Ashen Wings’, every song is irresistibly catchy. And, the vocal layering only adds to this.

So, yeah. If you want a lion’s share of traditional metal and power metal all in one, this is as close as you’re gonna get. D’Cagna is a fucking metal genius and I pray to the gods that he won’t be finished any time soon.

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Power Metal: Immortal Guardian Begin Recording New Album

Immortal Guardian released their widely-acclaimed debut, Age of Revolution, in 2018. They took the US power metal scene by storm with their self-branded “super metal”, which combines elements of prog, power melodeath to create an over-the-top, epic intensity.

The band recently announced that they are beginning the work on their sophomore effort.

While the details remain hidden, it is set for a Fall release.

Brazilian-born vocalist Carlos Zema on the album:
“This is a very different album from our previous releases in that there’s a wide range of emotions involved. We’ve experienced our fair share of loss since the last release and a lot of life lessons were poured into this album, giving it a very real and personal vibe. From a technical vocal aspect, this is the first album I’ve ever recorded where I’ve spanned five octaves as a singer, and I’m excited for the world to hear the message and sound we’ve created together as a group.”

Guitarist/Keyboardist Gabriel Guardian:
“The recording process has been interesting to say the least. Working with a drummer over 2,000 miles away has its obstacles, but Justin and his drum engineer Jesse Zito made the experience way smoother than we imagined. Thanks to technology, video calls and hundreds of back-and-forth messages, we pulled off something that wouldn’t have been possible years ago. We’re incredibly proud of the new material and are looking forward to wrapping up the final mix with Joshua and getting some new music out for all the Guardians to hear!”

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Power Theory – Force Of Will Review

Score8/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryUSA (Pennsylvania)
Runtime56:52
Release Date6 December 2019
Record LabelPure Steel

Brace for impact because US powerforce Power Theory have returned with their massive Force of Will. With backbreaking riffs and mighty vocals, this is the perfect album to piss off your neighbours with. Force of Will is the band’s fourth album, but it welcomes the destructive axemanship of Carlos Alvarez and Jim Rutherford‘s titanium pipes to the show for the first time.

The general tone here is darker than your usual US power metal, and the beefy, bass-heavy mixing is largely responsible. However, the energy level is consistent and high throughout most of the album, so it’s more of an aggressive darkness that fills the atmosphere rather than a dooming darkness. For reference, think along the lines of Iron Fire or a more refined Saxon. Most of the choruses are fairly victorious, though, and a lot of the solos are uplifting, so there’s a pretty good amount of contrast.

The album tends to lag a bit due to lack of variety after the absolutely killer ballad that is ‘Albion’, but if you’re listening more for the sick riffs and heaviness and less for the whole “album experience”, that isn’t a huge issue. The biggest single issue is in the closer, ‘The Hill I Die On’, which doesn’t really offer anything worthwhile, despite having a runtime of seven minutes. Regardless, Force of Will pulls no punches.

For straight, true, colossal heavy metal, Power Theory have your back. Force of Will lives up to the band’s already-high standards and is best listened to on your most thunderous speakers. If bands like Iron Fire and Accept are to your liking, you’ll love this.

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Power Metal: Niviane Announce New Keyboardist And New Album

Emerging US power metallers Niviane have had a lot of interesting developments. First, the band have announced the immersion of keyboardist Aaron Robitsch into the band’s main lineup. Robitsch played the keyboard parts for Niviane’s 2017 debut, The Druid King, so this was a fairly natural move.

Vocalist Norman L Skinner III on the new addition:
“A lot of thought went into the decision to add another member to the band. The writing chemistry was already there and he got along great with each and every one of us. During the last couple tours, we had noticed a pattern of bands running live keyboard tracks and we were even tinkering with the idea of doing that as well. However, we like to be a bit more organic in our live shows and decided it was a no brainer to have Aaron onboard permanently. Our fans may recognize Aaron Robitsch from his projects Crepuscle & Graveshadow.”

Additionally, Niviane have disclosed the artwork and tracklist for their upcoming album, The Ruthless Divine, which is set to come out in Spring 2020.

01. League of Shadows
02. Crown of Thorns
03. Dreams Crash Down
04. The Ruthless Divine
05. Fires In The Sky
06. Fallen From Elysium
07. Forgotten Centurion
08. Niviane
09. Psychomanteum
10. Sinking Ships
11. Like Lions

The album artwork is the design of freelance illustrator Dusan Markovic.

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