Unsurprisingly for a band with such august history and such a huge number of former musicians – members of Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Stormwarrior, Charon, Masterplan and Running Wild, amongst others, have boarded the Iron Savior spaceship at some point or other – ‘the sound’ of the band has now taken over, no matter who is pushing the buttons in the studio or slashing the strings on stage…

…That even includes band mainstay Piet Sielck, there from the start but somehow not particularly famous outside of the IS bubble. It’s a triumph of branding, of course, but there remains something a little identikit about the band’s output down the years. And that’s very much the state of affairs with new album Firestar, which presents as an above-average effort from the band, but still fails to really deliver much impact to the neutral observer.

At it’s most potent – Through The Fires of Hell, say – the band adds a bit of Blind Guardian’s pomp to the general Helloween/Gamma Ray template, whilst Mask, Cloak and Sword is pure, quintessential Iron Savior, but for the most part this could be produced by just about any of the leading Euro power metal outfits currently doing the rounds.

That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable; Sielck certainly knows how to pen a power metal anthem, with closing track here Together As One standing out as one of the best he’s written in a while; It’s just that, with the sheer number of bands churning out material like this on a seemingly daily basis, it’s only really the band’s history and legacy that would give you a reason to reach for Firestar first as opposed to the album containing any must-hear material. As ever, the fans will love this, and everybody else – even fans of the genre in a wider sense, I’m afraid – will remain completely unmoved.

Firestar releases on October 6th.