Album Review – Evil Hunter / Lockdown (2021)

This unstoppable Spanish metal force attacks again with their sophomore album, showcasing an evolution in their sound together with endless energy and a deep passion for heavy music.

Comprised of experienced musicians from Galicia, Catalunya, Andalucía and Madrid, all in Spain, the Heavy Metal brigade known as Evil Hunter attacks again with their sophomore opus, entitled Lockdown, following up on all the energy and heaviness of their 2018 self-titled debut effort. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist José Rubio and displaying a classic artwork by Felipe Machado Franco, Lockdown represents a step forward in the band’s career, showcasing not only an evolution in the sound crafted by Damián Chicano on vocals, José Rubio and Victor Durán on the guitars, Alberto Garrido on bass and Anxo Silveira on drums, but also offering us fans of old school metal music an amazing option to enhance our personal collection of heavy music albums.

The quintet begins distilling their classic Heavy Metal in the opening track Guardian Angel, already putting the pedal to the metal with José and Victor taking the lead with their flammable riffs while Damián fires his Udo Dirkschneider-inspired roars, whereas investing in a pure Hard Rock vibe from the 80’s we have You’ll Never Walk Alone, an upbeat tune with a very positive message where Alberto and Anxo dictate the song’s headbanging pace with their respective bass punches and steady beats. Then infernal riffs ignite another metallic feast by Evil Hunter entitled Get Up, which will sound amazing during their upcoming live concerts as Damián screams the song’s words in great fashion accompanied by the thunderous beats by Anxo; and it’s time for the band to speed things up and deliver a classic Power Metal tune named Burning in Flames, blending the old school sound by Accept and Judas Priest with the more melodic approach by Stratovarius, also presenting an amazing performance by the band’s guitar duo with their striking riffs and solos.

Back to a smoother sonority, it’s time for Anxo to lead his bandmates with his 80’s-inspired beats in Fear Them All, a song that could have easily been released 40 years ago, with José and Victor once again doing a superb job on the guitars, followed by Beyond the Down, a beautiful treat to diehard fans of 80’s Heavy Metal where Damián is on fire with his raspy vocals supported by his bandmates classic backing vocals, not to mention the rumbling kitchen generated by Alberto and Anxo. And Evil Hunter slow things down and get slightly darker and more melancholic in Locked Down, evolving into another Heavy Metal hurricane where their sharp riffs and solos will penetrate deep inside your mind. Lastly, the band brings to our ears Blown With the Wind, with its headbanging rhythm, epic vocal lines and pounding drums reminding me of some of the older creations by Manowar and Hammerfall, putting an inspiring ending to such frantic and electrifying album.

Evil Hunter are more than ready to hunt you down with their first-class Heavy Metal and Hard Rock, and if you want to tell them how much you enjoy their music you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their incendiary creations. Furthermore, you should definitely purchase Lockdown from the Demons Records webstore, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, proving you’re a true metalhead and an admirer of the underground. Those Spanish metallers stepped up their game considerably with Lockdown, setting the bar really high for their future releases and, of course, inviting us all to join them in their musical world and share with them our deep passion for heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Guardian Angel, Burning in Flames and Beyond the Down.

Worst moments of the album: Locked Down.

Released in 2021 Demons Records

Track listing
1. Guardian Angel 4:21
2. You’ll Never Walk Alone 4:36
3. Get Up 4:24
4. Burning in Flames 4:38
5. Fear Them All 4:37
6. Beyond the Down 4:11
7. Locked Down 5:46
8. Blown With the Wind 4:47

Band members
Damián Chicano – vocals
José Rubio – guitars
Victor Durán – guitars
Alberto Garrido – bass
Anxo Silveira – drums

Album Review – Iron Savior / Titancraft (2016)

One of the most underrated bands from the heavy music scene in Germany returns with another solid lesson in Power Metal, perfect for banging our heads nonstop and raising our fists in the air.

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CoverMeine Damen und Herren, it’s my pleasure to inform you German Power Metal warriors Iron Savior have just released a brand new album, entitled Titancraft, the ninth in their underrated career and another extremely well-crafted collection of old school Heavy Metal hymns. Spearheaded by the skillful Piet Sielck on vocals and guitar, Iron Savior have managed to maintain the same lineup from their 2011 album The Landing and their 2014 kick-ass album Rise of the Hero, and we all know how good and productive it is to music whenever a band doesn’t suffer too many changes in regards to its members.

Instead of changes in their lineup, Iron Savior invested into increasing the reach of their music by simply adding the abilities of several guest musicians to the album. In Titancraft, fans will be able to enjoy the contributions by guitarist Jan Bertram (Paragon), singer Frank Beck (Gamma Ray), keyboardist and pianist Daniel “Danny Danger” Galmarini (Mercury Falling), and Philippa “Pippa” Sielck  on backing vocals. Add to that the once again classic cover art by Colombian musician and illustrator Felipe Machado Franco, the same artist responsible for the artwork in The Landing and Rise of the Hero, and there you have an album that transpires Heavy Metal in all possible senses.

Rumbling bass lines, electronic effects and an eerie voice constitute the futuristic intro Under Siege, setting the tone for the title-track, Titancraft, an explosion of the purest form of Power Metal similar to what their countrymen from Gamma Ray usually do. I love when a band like Iron Savior can craft honest and exciting music even after so many years on the road, and although the vocals by Piet sound less aggressive than in their previous albums, that doesn’t mean they’re not awesome. After that solid start, we have the even more powerful Way of the Blade, a superb composition that lives up to the history of true Power Metal showcasing piercing guitar lines by Piet and Joachim “Piesel” Küstner and the thunderous bass by Jan-Sören Eckert, as well as Piet getting back to his beastly mode on vocals.

Seize the Day sounds happier than usual, which doesn’t mean the music is soft or bland despite being slightly below the rest of the album in terms of quality (let’s say that excessive happiness is also a bit tiring after a while); whereas Gunsmoke, with its lyrics inspired by the dangerous lives of gunmen in the Wild West (“And when all hope was gone / Judgement came to town / Seven guns / To shoot the outlaws down / Shoot ‘em down”), has that headbanging rhythm perfect for some air guitar. Furthermore, Thomas Nack is not only a fast drummer, but in this song he also shows his skills in a groovier form closer to classic Hard Rock. And in Beyond the Horizon, a classic Power Metal composition where backing vocals help Piet sound more powerful and epic, Danny Danger embellishes the musicality with his keyboard notes, working really well together with all guitar solos by Piet and Piesel.

BandThe fantastic The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell is an ode to Heavy and Power Metal, blending the best elements from Gamma Ray, Manowar, Judas Priest and so on, with Piet and his crew delivering a potent and metallic hymn where all guitar riffs and solos sound cutting, which is always a good thing in heavy music; and if you love high-octane Power Metal, Strike Down the Tyranny is perfect for you. It’s quite similar to many old classics by Iron Savior, with highlights to the always competent Thomas behind his drums.

Although the average Brother in Arms brings the adrenaline down a bit due to its not-so-exciting rhythm, despite its decent lyrics (“Alone on the journey / Like so often before / My circuits are gleaming / In overload / And now I’m coming ashore”) and good guitar solo, everything gets back on track in I Surrender, an outstanding power ballad where you’ll start singing its catchy lyrics instantly, all enhanced by a beautiful guitar solo and the passionate vocal performance by Piet, making the overall result even more touching. In other words, this is an amazing example of how a band can sound mighty even when not playing at full speed. Finally, if you were born to be rebellious, you’ll have a good time listening to the straightforward Power Metal tune Rebellious and its electrified guitar passages and classic beats.

In summary, Iron Savior never disappoint, always displaying their profound passion for Power Metal through their classic tunes, and it couldn’t be different in Titancraft. By the way, If you’re a diehard fan of the band, you certainly need to purchase the limited edition of the album, containing a stamped tinplate (20×30 cm) with cover artwork, an Iron Savior metalpin, a personal sketch and notes from Piet Sielck himself, a handsigned autograph card and a certificate of authenticity. As you already know, this is true Power Metal crafted by another brilliant band from Germany, a country that has metal music running through its veins, and that’s all we need to bang our heads and raise our fists with a huge smile on our faces.

Best moments of the album: Titancraft, Way of the Blade, The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell and I Surrender.

Worst moments of the album: Seize the Day and Brother in Arms.

Released in 2016 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Under Siege (Intro) 0:58
2. Titancraft 5:21
3. Way of the Blade 3:57
4. Seize the Day 4:57
5. Gunsmoke 5:07
6. Beyond the Horizon 5:58
7. The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell 5:02
8. Strike Down the Tyranny 5:10
9. Brother in Arms 5:23
11. I Surrender 4:04
12. Rebellious 4:49

Limited/Japanese Edition bonus tracks
10. R&R Addiction 5:10
13. Protector 2016 4:36

Japanese Edition bonus track
14. Assailant 2016 4:20

Band members
Piet Sielck – vocals, guitar
Joachim “Piesel” Küstner – guitar
Jan-Sören Eckert – bass guitar
Thomas Nack – drums

Guest musicians
Jan Bertram – lead guitars on “R&R Addiction”
Philippa “Pippa” Sielck – backing vocals
Frank Beck – backing vocals, additional lead vocals on “Assailant 2016”
Daniel “Danny Danger” Galmarini – keyboards on “Beyond The Horizon”, “I Surrender” and “Brother In Arms”, piano on “I Surrender”

Album Review – Iron Savior / Rise of the Hero (2014)

If you’re addicted to traditional Power Metal, you’ll definitely love the new Iron Savior album.

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CoverNo one knows if Germany is going to win the 2104 World Cup in Brazil in a few months. However, if they play only half as amazing as the new releases from many Teutonic Heavy Metal bands, I’m pretty sure they’ll make it at least to the final four. After the sonic extravaganza we’ve already had the pleasure to enjoy this year from bands like Primal Fear, Axel Rudi Pell, Vanden Plas, Van Canto, and even Caliban (and there are many others, but I just can’t list all of them here), here come Piet Sielck and his mates from German Power Metal band Iron Savior with another damn good traditional Power Metal album, Rise of the Hero, the eighth full-length studio album in their solid career.

I must admit it’s hard to find any signs of innovation in the whole album, but remember we’re talking about POWER METAL here, a genre where basically no creativity is necessary in the making of a great album, and besides, it’s not an item requested by the diehard fans at all: we just want some heavy riffs, fast solos and sing-along chorus while we enjoy a beer and bang our heads with our friends at a concert or festival anywhere in the world.

In order to warm up their fans for some pure Power Metal, the band offers us the good intro Ascendence, full of “spaceship” effects and other interesting elements. Then it’s time for the real party to start with Last Hero, a song that couldn’t sound more traditional with its double bass and addictive chorus, which simply means it’s awesome, and Revenge of the Bride, a very Gamma Ray-like track (maybe as a tribute to his friend Kai Hansen, who was with the band from 1996 to 2001?) with direct riffs and drums.

The electricity continues with From Far Beyond Time, which starts with a nice riff before turning into another traditional fast Power Metal tune the likes of Blind Guardian, especially the singing and backing vocals, and Burning Heart, with its astounding rhythm, awesome raw bass lines, and a chorus that is perfect for those famous “Oh-oh-oh!” moments when played live. By the way, the video for this track is really funny: how did Piet find so much time to sing the whole song inside his car? Was the traffic so bad he couldn’t move for almost 5 minutes? Anyway, it’s for sure one of the best songs of the album, if not the best.

BandFor the ones that love that insanely fast Power Metal from the 80’s, Thunder from the Mountains is absolutely mandatory in your playlist: it has the same kind of punch found on Helloween’s classic Ride the Sky. But if you prefer those songs that are made for banging your head and playing some air guitar, you’ll love the great Iron Warrior and the following track, the not so amazing Dragon King, with its 100% Manowar-ish lyrics.

The next song was supposed to be just a bonus track, but the band liked the final result so much they decided to make it a regular album track, according to Piet himself: Dance with Somebody is a cover to Swedish Rock band Mando Diao’s hit, and I guess I don’t need to say which version is better, right? The following track, Firestorm, is a good song, but it lacks the same energy as the rest of the album and it falls flat after a while; the same happens with The Demon, a semi-ballad that doesn’t exactly match with Iron Savior’s style. The last track of the album, Fistraiser, puts things back where they belong, and if you don’t see yourself in the lyrics, I’m sorry, but you’re not a true Heavy Metal fan. Finally, if you purchase the special edition or the Japanese edition of the album, you’ll also get the 2014 version for Iron Savior’s old tracks I’ve Been To Hell or Mind Over Matter, respectively.

The beautiful album art by Colombian artist Felipe Machado Franco, who has worked with many other Heavy Metal icons such as Blind Guardian, Rage and Iced Earth, couldn’t represent better the music in Rise of the Hero. In other words (and I may sound repetitive here), it’s pure Power Metal, something the talented Piet and his band have managed to do extremely well since the formation of Iron Savior, and we can happily rest assured it’s something they will keep doing in the years to come.

Best moments of the album: Last Hero, Burning Heart, Iron Warrior and Dance with Somebody.

Worst moments of the album: Dragon King, Firestorm and The Demon.

Released in 2014 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Ascendence (Intro) 1:28
2. Last Hero 5:00
3. Revenge of the Bride 4:35
4. From Far Beyond Time 5:17
5. Burning Heart 4:39
6. Thunder from the Mountains 5:08
7. Iron Warrior 4:41
8. Dragon King 5:43
9. Dance with Somebody (Mando Diao cover) 3:55
10. Firestorm 4:58
11. The Demon 5:02
12. Fistraiser 4:40 

Bonus tracks
13. I’ve Been To Hell 2014 (Limited Edition) 4:04
14. Mind Over Matter 2014 (Japanese Edition) 5:34

Band members
Piet Sielck – vocals, guitars
Joachim “Piesel” Küstner – guitars, backing vocals, additional lead vocals on “I’ve Been To Hell 2014” and “Mind Over Matter 2014”
Jan-Sören Eckert – bass, backing vocals
Thomas Nack – drums, backing vocals