Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Hailing from Surrey, B.C. these Canadians serve up their own brand of traditional power metal on their newest full length release "Gates Of Eternity". This 9 track platter harkens back to the glory days of such trailblazing bands as Angelwitch, Mercyful Fate, Judas Priest and of course, Iron Maiden. The twin guitar attack of Chris Osterman and Kenny Kroecher mixes gritty riffing with tons of melody and more duelling harmonies and guitar solo's than Maiden fans can wave a union jack at! Album opener "At The Gates" sets the pace for an epic guitar driven ride of pure power metal bliss with it's twisting and turning changes, from it's anthemic chorus to it's clean, melodious bridge. "Chains Of Solitude" clocking in at over 7 minutes long, showcases an abundance of catchy riffs and top quality song crafting. These guitarists know how to play their instruments well and have the knowledge to piece together multiple riffs while keeping the listener completely engaged and not being overly flashy when it comes time to lay down a solo. "Demon Of Deception" slows the pace up just a bit with it's sludgy intro and chorus riffs. Iron Kingdom definitely let's their early
Mercyful Fate influence fly on this track, I could easily hear this song played in the same company as "Curse Of The Pharoahs" and "A Dangerous Meeting" not only for the songwriting but also for the unbelievable vocal highs that frontman Chris Osterman is able to obtain (and while he is playing guitar mind you!). Chris definitely has a unique voice all his own, while you can hear bits of Halford and King Diamond in his screams, he seems to have found his own vocal identity which isnt often heard from a singer on what is
only his sophomore release. Let's not overlook the fabulous rythmn section here also. The deep, clanking bass lines of Leighton Holmes and the tight, stomping drumming provided by Amanda Osterman are what give the muscle and backbone to songs like "Guardian Angel" and "Crowned In Iron". If forced to pick a favorite track from this album, I'd have to go with "At Home In The Dark". This track goes straight for the kill, jumping the gun at full speed with an excellent galloping riff and twin guitar pyrotechnics that get my
head banging and my fist pumping in the air even as I write this review. The absolutely epic 15 minute journey called "Egypt-The End Is Near" rounds this full length out. There's something in this track for everyone, thundering drums, blazing vocals, ground shaking bass and riffs-a-plenty with lots of tempo and timing changes. If you crossed Maiden's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" with "Genghis Khan" you'd get something very close to what Iron Kingdom serve up with this track. Once again, the band seemlessly melts
together a mountain of musical pieces, making them all fit together and keeping the listener on it's toes and excited for what changes will come next, there's even a beautiful acoustic piece towards the end that comes out of nowhere! This is fun heavy metal. Iron Kingdom makes you want to crank the speakers up, chug a few cold brews and play air guitar along with every song until your hands cramp up. I can only imagine how excellent this band must be in a live setting, whipping the crowd into a frenzy with the amazing songs showcased on "Gates Of Eternity". Fans of old school power metal and NWOBHM absolutely need to add Iron Kingdom's "Gates Of Eternity" to your collection. You can purchase physical CD copies of the album (and limited cassette versions as well) by visiting www.iron-kingdom.com and clicking on the "merch" tab, you can also purchase their debut album and t-shirts as well! Dont forget to visit the band at www.facebook.com/ironkingdom and click the "like" button too! You can hear cuts from this disk by tuning in to www.brutalexistenceradio.com every Thursday evening from 7pm to 10pm EST and checking out Up From The Underground.