After 2 years of silence, since the release of Metamorphosized back in 2010, this Danish power metal band brings us their newest work, Voyage of the Damned (their 7th album) promising to continue with their well-known fast-paced metal style.
Although the whole album is full of the kind of fast metal that power metal fans love, Martin Steene’s vocals are, in my opinion, the highest point. Voyage of the Damned shows his versatility from the very first track, “Enter Oblivion OJ-666” and all the way to “Warmaster of Chaos”, the closing track. His changes from clean vocals to growling in “Leviathan” (check the video at the bottom) are just priceless.
Another highlight are the collaborations from some pretty big names in metal, such as Dave Ingram (Benediction, Bolt Thrower) providing growling vocals in “Slaughter of Souls” and Niels K. Rue (Pagan’s Mind) in “Voyage of the Damned”.
The album is full of surprises. I can’t say this enough. Although it’s clearly power metal, there are also some flirtations with other styles. “Final Odyssey” ventures (successfully) in the realm of power ballads; “Voyage of the Damned” shows some pretty solid progressive elements; the growling, death-metal parts provided by Dave Ingram; and, finally, the songs that seem to depart a bit from the traditional power metal and bring some traditional heavy stuff, such as “Real of Madness” (and say what you will, but there’s no way Iron Fire was not thinking of Metallica’s “One” when they wrote the intro).
Before I finish this review, however, I need to rant a bit. There’s something about pointless intros that’s really appealing to bands. I’m not sure why. Perhaps they feel a bit closer to Wagner (the German composer, not this band’s drummer) or maybe they think that their music sounds more “serious” if they add some orchestral-sounding synth sounds at the beginning . Well, I’m afraid that this is not the case and, in fact, most of the time they’re pointless, obnoxious and even downright pretentious, in case the band decides to actually give them a “deep” name, such as “The Dark Beyond“, the opening track for this album. Don’t get me wrong, some intros can be good. “Epicus Furor”, the intro for Rhapsody of Fire’s Emeral Sword, or the intro for Dark Wings by Within Temptation actually added something to the experience… hell, even some of Manowar’s intros and interludes are bearable (although not to the extent that they were used in Gods of War) . True, these intros are hardly a problem and you only have to bear with them for about a minute, so it’s not like they “hurt” your opinion of the album, but that doesn’t make them any less unnecessary.
In any case, the bottom line is that Voyage of the Damned is the quintessential power metal album, full of rapid guitar playing, double pedals and enough keyboards to make you feel like you’re listening to an orchestra (courtesy of Rune Stiassny, a session musician). While every Power Metal fan will definitely enjoy it, fans of bands such as Nightwish and even Epica will find something for them.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]