I first came across Iron Fire about 5 years ago, when one of their songs, Iron Head, popped up on a promo disc from a festival. At the time, I remember being blown away because I was in to woefully generic power metal at the time. I assumed that this would continue when the cheesy intro keyboards on their new record, Voyage Of The Damned fired up.

It seems my cynicism has shot me in the foot, as Iron Fire have somehow turned into a really interesting and versatile band to listen to. Make no mistake, this is still power metal to the core, but the cheesy ‘lol vikings lol’ has been replaced with thundering double kick and intermittent death metal vocals without sacrificing any large part of their sound. Maybe it’s been that long since I’ve listened to the band, but Voyage… explodes with Enter Oblivion and locks down into the relentless groove of the growl-laden chorus Taken, cemented together with yet more of the double kick. It’s been a while since I’ve heard a power metal band be this aggressive.

It’s good to see that a band can’t take itself seriously all the time, The Final Odyssey dripping in sentiment and cringe-worthy expressions. On its face, the token ballad tries it’s hardest to make you hate it and try to light that particular part of the disc on fire, but it’s atmosphere provides a refreshing calm in the break neck pace of the album up to this point. And, admittedly, it’s not a bad effort for a power metal ballad.

Crashing on with the ten minute title track, we begin to see keyboards take more spotlight as the album progresses, Dreams Of The Dead Moon has some serene tinkling ivories provided some fragility to the mid-tempo number.

I could go on telling you about how heavy and versatile Voyage Of The Damned is, but I won’t. Suffice to say, it’s a complete surprise I’m this enamoured as I fully expected to hate it. Iron Fire deliver a triumphantly heavy record that will break your face if you were expecting songs about fairies.