Iron Fire - Metalmorphosized
Napalm Records
Power Metal
13 songs (1 hour)
Release year: 2010
Official website, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jake

Denmark's Iron Fire isn't a bad band so much as a frustrating one. Last year's To The Grave was pretty good, and they've managed to stay notable despite a mostly okay discography by virtue of a few standout songs, my favorite being the awesome Wings of Rage from 2006's Revenge. Every time Iron Fire show signs of realizing the potential in those highlights, though, they backslide into falsely confident mediocrity. After the uptick in quality on To The Grave, this year's tenth-anniversary celebration Metalmorphosized (really?) is one such disappointment.

First of all, I question the band's right to claim a decade of activity; they took a five-year break between their second and third albums. While that time was ostensibly spent reworking their sound—most of the material on Metalmorphosized was recorded during those years—the generic sound of most of that third album (Revenge) and of the outtakes included on Metalmorphosized makes you wonder what the hell they spent all that time doing. The answer seems to be “practicing an imitation of most power metal bands.” As usual, the material is distinguished mostly by band leader Martin Steene's bizarrely nasal voice and habit of sprinkling ill-advised grunts and growls into what can otherwise be powerful singing on a good day (and, to be fair, a stronger bottom end than is typical for power metal). The drop-off in quality from To The Grave can't simply be blamed on the fact this is old material, either; the handful of new tracks included on Metalmorphosized aren't any better, and even more dishearteningly, they aren't any different. When I'm not looking at the list of what's old and what's new, I can't for the life of me figure out which of these songs are supposed to be from further along in Iron Fire's career.

Sole highlight Phantom Symphony, the album's ten-minute finale, is easily the best epic the band has ever done, and well worth repeat listens. Rather than saving the album or redeeming some if its faults, though, the uncharacteristic quality of Phantom Symphony contributes to the same urge as the unfilfulled promise of Wings of Rage and To The Grave, the same urge you get when you hear that this stuff is the result of five years of album-less, tour-less work: the urge to tell Martin Steene that his band could and should be much fucking better. When you're still giving that note six albums into a band's career, it's time to give up.

Killing Songs :
Phantom Symphony
Jake quoted 55 / 100
Chris quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Iron Fire that we have reviewed:
Iron Fire - Beyond the Void reviewed by Andy and quoted 82 / 100
Iron Fire - Among the Dead reviewed by Chris and quoted 84 / 100
Iron Fire - Voyage of the Damned reviewed by Chris and quoted 85 / 100
Iron Fire - To The Grave reviewed by Chris and quoted 94 / 100
Iron Fire - Blade Of Triumph reviewed by Chris and quoted 74 / 100
To see all 9 reviews click here
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