American metallers Ironflame will be no strangers to followers of my Crusade of Power column, as we’ve shone the spotlight on both of Ironflame’s previous albums over the last couple of years. If Ironflame is a new name to you, however, then (a) why haven’t you been on the Crusade?, and (b) welcome along and strap yourself in, because you’re in for a hell of a heavy metal ride with Blood Red Victory.
Ironflame are, to put it simply, just about as traditional as it’s possible to be. Every song here is built on memorable melodies and stentorian vocalising, allied with adamantine riffage and blitzkrieg percussive aggression; essentially the brainchild of vocalist Andrew D’Cagna, who plays everything (bar the guitar solos) and produces as well, this project is a must-hear for anyone with a proclivity for undilutes American steel.
Resolutely classic in outlook, D’Cagna takes his cues from names like Fifth Angel, Savatage, Iced Earth and Malice, melding his influences into a molten melange of metallic mayhem that never, ever fails to please the ears. Closing track Night Queen, for instance, sounds like a song that might possibly have been sitting in a cryogenic pod since 1985, waiting for it’s opportunity to burst from the chrysalis like some steel-clad sonic butterfly. D’Cagna himself is the star everywhere, of course, but here he shines particularly brightly with a deftly delivered dose of vocal class; despite being a vocalist of obvious class, he never over sings, and never overloads the mix with thousands of spurious vocal overdubs. He doesn’t need to, and his performance on Night Queen proves that.
Elsewhere, Honor Bound and the excellent Seekers of the Flame have a more British feel to it, reminiscent perhaps of Brit metal stalwarts Monument, or Brit-fixated Americans White Wizzard at the very least, whilst penultimate anthem Grace and Valor is going to be a pretty permanent visitor to the Templeton stereo over the next weeks and months.
Guitarists Quinn Lukas and Jesse Scott deserve some share of the plaudits for their excellent solo work, but for the most part it’s D’Cagna who steals the show; he’s a star in the making for sure, and deserves your attention if no-frills, denim-toting heavy metal thunder is your bag.
Blood Red Victory will be released on February 7th.