It’s hard to believe but the countdown to the end of another year is officially here, everyone. There are now only three full months left in 2023. While there is now so little time left in the year, there is still so much new music on the way from across the musical universe. Some of that music will come Oct. 6 (next week) from veteran power metal outfit Iron Savior the form of Firestar. The record will be the band’s 12th album of new material. 2017’s Reforged – Riding on Fire and its 2022 companion/follow-up, Reforged – Ironbound are technically compilations records so they do not count as albums of new content. Set for release through AFM Records, the 11-songrecord will be the band’s sixth consecutive album released through AFM Records. Audiences who are familiar with the band and power metal fans alike will find plenty to appreciate from this record, beginning with its musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. While the musical arrangements form a strong foundation for the album, the production thereof actually does detract somewhat to the album’s presentation. This will be discussed a little later. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements work with those items to make for more engagement and entertainment. They will be discussed later, too. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Firestar. All things considered, they make Firestar a record that Iron Savior’s fans and power metal fans alike will find worth hearing at least once.
Firestar, the forthcoming latest album from Iron Savior, is an interesting new offering from the veteran power metal outfit. Its interest comes in large part through its featured arrangements. From beginning to end of the nearly 50-minute record (48 minutes to be exact) listeners can make stylistic comparisons to so many other metal and power metal acts who are just as well-known as Iron Savior if not more so in the arrangements. Case in point, the album’s second track and first full song, ‘Curse of the Machinery’ blends influences from Dragonforce and Judas Priest all while establishing its own identity. That melding of influences is obvious in the distinct vocal style of front man Piet Sielck and the harmonies from the rapid fire guitar work of Joachim “Piesel” Kustner, as well as the equally solid time keeping from drummer Patrick Klose. The soaring vocals and the equally powerful guitar arrangement here is everything that fans of the noted bands (and of Iron Savior) have come to expect from the band. Power metal fans in general will find just as much to appreciate herein.
‘Demise of the Tyrant,’ which comes early in the record’s first half, is another example of the importance of the record’s musical arrangements. Instead of the full-on power metal leanings of the album’s opener, this time, the band leans more in a hard rock direction while still incorporating the band’s familiar power metal leanings. In the case of this song, the blend of heaviness and power metal makes the song comparable to works from the likes of fellow power metal stalwart act, Sabaton. Again this is evidenced through the guitars, vocals, and even bass and drums. It shows the band intentionally changed course here and succeeded in doing so.
‘Rising From Ashes,’ which comes much later in the album’s run, is another important example of the role that the album’s musical arrangements play in its presentation. The opening bars, what with their guitar line, conjure thoughts of works from the likes of Motorhead. From there, the band moves more in an Iron Maiden type direction as the song progresses. The whole is a composition that is sure to keep listeners engaged and entertained. When this arrangement is considered along with the others examined here and with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole therein forms a solid foundation for Firestar
While the musical arrangements featured throughout Firestar make the album an engaging presentation, the record is not perfect. The raucous record provides listeners with plenty of fire and energy in each song and keeps the volume pushed well past 10. The thing is that maybe it is just this critic’s own audio equipment but there are moments throughout the record that it seems like Sielk’s vocals get lost in the mix a bit and almost overpowered by the instrumentation. That is not to say that it happens in every single song, but it happens frequently enough to make it notable. Thankfully even with this in mind it is not enough to doom the record. It just causes some minor concerns throughout the record.
Keeping in mind that the somewhat rocky production is not enough to doom Firestar there is at least one more item to note in examining the album. The lyrical themes featured throughout the album are of their own interest because of their diversity. One of the most notable of the themes is an uplifting statement of love and support. This theme comes through in ‘Through The Fires of Hell.’ The liner notes in the album’s booklet even state outright, “Love is the essence…So fight for it. Protect it, preserve it…With all your might.” The song opens in its lead verse continuing with that statement with a couple essentially having died and going to heaven “hand in hand” as the lyrics note. The song’s subject even sings in the song’s chorus of the couple giving their hearts to one another to the end of the world. It is a theme that even as schmaltzy as it is, is sure to appeal to plenty of audiences.
Immediately after that song, the band turns in a totally random direction with a song about, of all thing (or in this case people) Zorro. Yes, the song – ‘Mask, Cloak, and Sword’ – is about the heroics of the famed fictional man in black. The liner notes in the booklet that accompany the lyrics openly state the song is about the legendary Robin Hood-esque rebel. The song openly calls him an “Avenger in black” with a “blade for the poor.” How many music acts out there have ever crafted a song about Zorro, of all people? That originality alone makes the lyrical topic here so cool in itself and in turn, all the more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.
Even later in the album’s run, the band offers listeners another uplifting message in the song, ‘Nothing Is Forever.’ As the liner notes point out, “Life is constant change, but the past with all the memories will remain and live on in our hearts.” From there the song reminds listeners that “A whole world of possibilities is waiting for you” and to “make your choice/Make it real/And don’t let go.” This uplifting reminder, coupled with the song’s equally powerful musical arrangement gains even more positive vibes. What’s more the song also reminds listeners that while nothing is forever (or because of it) they should never let go and simply “live your dreams.” Again here is proof of the positivity in the song’s lyrical content. When the positive message here is considered along with the lyrical themes in the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, the themes overall give audiences just as much to appreciate here as the album’s musical content. Those two elements together do enough to make Firestar a welcome addition to this year’s field of new power metal albums that the band’s fans and power metal fans alike will appreciate.
Firestar, the latest studio recording from Iron Savior, is an interesting new offering from the veteran power metal outfit. This is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements take audiences across the metal and power metal spectrum from one song to the next. As enjoyable as the arrangements prove from one to the next, their production does prove a little problematic at times as there are moments in which the vocals and instrumentation have a tendency to blend maybe a little too much. As much as it happens it thankfully is not enough to doom the record. It is just somewhat problematic. Keeping that in mind, the lyrical themes that accompany the music do enough to keep listeners engaged, too. They are even more diverse than the album’s lyrical content and are fully accessible and relatable. To that end, the lyrical themes featured here are just as important to the record as its musical arrangements. Keeping that in mind, the lyrical and musical content featured in this record partner to make the overall presentation largely a successful presentation that power metal fans will appreciate just as much as the band’s established audiences.
Firestar is scheduled for release Oct. 6 through AFM Records. More information on Firestar is available along with all of Iron Savior’s latest news at: