Iron Savior - Skycrest
AFM Records
Heavy/power metal
12 songs (56:20)
Release year: 2020
Iron Savior, AFM Records
Reviewed by Andy
Major event

So what if Iron Savior has barely changed its sound or the songs on each album since its formation in '96? Some might say that's because you can't improve on perfection. Piet Sielck's project has produced a steady stream of albums that are at worst solid and more often fist-pumpingly magnificent. Skycrest is closer to one of the latter: A pile of anthems greet the listener almost at once, and it's hard to find a track that has any less energy than the laser beams of the eponymous Iron Savior himself.

The title track comes first, a thudding quick-stepped verse with one of Sielck's trademark thousand-man choruses, even more layered than usual. This is followed by a whole slew of crushingly heavy tracks; Our Time Has Come's major-key chorus is excellent, but Hellbreaker is one of my favorites. With a similar sound to The Savior from The Landing, it has Sielck singing at his heroic grittiest, making even other gruff-voiced Teutonic greats sound like pale imitations by comparison. I wasn't quite as big a fan of Welcome to the New World, a song with a melody that might look good on a lesser album but instead gets dwarfed by its predecessors. The lycanthropy-themed Silver Bullet is far better, and for fans of the power-metal side of the band's songwriting is the most power metal of the collection.

After the emotional close of Silver Bullet it feels almost as though the rest of the tracks are going to be bonuses, even though that's only partially the case. My version has an 80s-style hard rock track called Raise the Flag, a fun track to listen to but which doesn't really fit with the rest of the album; it seems like at the AFM 12-inch doesn't have it. End of the Rainbow, mid-tempo and with more layered vocals than the rest of the album, sounds like it may have barely escaped the chopping block too; and the power ballad of Ease Your Pain features some softer, non-gritty Sielck singing that seems like an anticlimax. But of course Iron Savior won't end an album with a whimper. Ode to the Brave pulls out all the stops: Thousand-man choruses, grated-out vocals, some wild two-guitar soloing, and a relentlessly upbeat, triumphant chorus. Did I forget to mention the great intro riff?

In terms of quality, Iron Savior's been one of the most consistent bands in its genre, so it's difficult to think of an actually poor album from them. But Skycrest still stands out as one of the better specimens of their catalog. The robot guardian doesn't appear to need his batteries changed any time soon.

Killing Songs :
Skycrest, Hellbreaker, Silver Bullet, Ode to the Brave
Andy quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Iron Savior that we have reviewed:
Iron Savior - The Landing reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
Iron Savior - Megatropolis reviewed by Mike and quoted 65 / 100
Iron Savior - Battering Ram reviewed by Danny and quoted 90 / 100
Iron Savior - Condition Red reviewed by Danny and quoted 96 / 100
Iron Savior - Dark Assault reviewed by Chris and quoted 85 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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