The Landing is the seventh album from German power metal band Iron Savior, and it may just be in possession of the best artwork of 2011. Talk about eye-catching! Fortunately though the music of the album more than lives up to the greatness of the cover art, because with The Landing we’re talking classic guitar-driven power metal, which admittedly isn’t without its portion of cheese, but is an absolutely killer release.
I don’t know what it is about the Germans, but they seem to be able to consistently turn out top quality power metal more so than any other country I know, having given the world big name acts like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Avantasia to name but a handful of the big name acts. The Landing is my first encounter with the lesser known Iron Savior, who actually has connections to most of those bigger bands I just mentioned in that their original line-up featured both Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween, Gamma Ray) and Thomen Stauch (ex-Blind Guardian). Both have since departed Iron Savior, leaving it in the hands of frontman Piet Sielck who has continued the band to the point that recently he left his other band, Savage Circus, in order to focus all his attention on Iron Savior. I haven’t heard the work the band did with the more well known musicians, but I can safely say that if The Landing is anything to go by, Iron Savior is doing very well as it is!
As I said this is the guitar driven kind of power metal, which in itself means that the music doesn’t suffer from being too cheesy, especially since Sielck’s vocals have a rough edge to them rather than the high pitched soaring melody associated with vocalists like Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween). What cheesy stuff is here is in the lyrics of a couple of the tracks, namely Heavy Metal Never Dies and R.U. Ready. With names like that you don’t really need to be told why do you? Of course I think any metalhead can appreciate the sentiment expressed in the former track, even if such lyrics have been somewhat over done by various artists over the years. R.U. Ready is in the same vein, leaning more towards rock this time though, and contains lines that reference classic tracks such as Smoke on the Water, Born to be Wild, Breaking the Law and more. This is as far as the cheese in The Landing goes though, and even then, I guess this only rates a 2 at most on the cheese-o-metre.
The music on The Landing can be considered one dimensional, apart from one foray into balladry territory on Before the Pain, but that’s not really a problem since it’s clear that Iron Savior is a band who know what they’re good at, and they deliver exceptionally on The Landing, even in those cheesy moments. The real goods though are delivered in the form of The Savior, Starlight, March of Doom, Moment in Time and the closing No Guts No Glory. The production job, done by Piet Sielck, gives a crisp sound to the guitars, resulting in a clear sound but it may have worked even better done in such a way to give the riffs a bit of additional heaviness but all in all it’s a professional job that shows off Sielck’s vocals especially well.
The Landing may be something of a typical power metal album in some ways but it also stands out in front of the crowd of acts where the cheese is way too prevailing, which is one of the reasons that I believe that the power metal genre gets a bit of bad press, especially from the more die-hard metalheads. The Landing is one of those albums that shows that the genre, when done at its best, is one that means just as much business as thrash, death and traditional metal. Iron Savior proves that they deserve to be right up there with the greats with this one and The Landing comes highly recommended to all, especially if you’re one of those that when confronted with power metal thinks ‘flower metal’ and promptly ignores it. The Landing is the sort of album that should make you realise just how much you’re missing out on.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))