|Review: Iron Savior - Reforged - Riding on Fire|
|Reforged - Riding on Fire|
Label: AFM Records
Year released: 2017
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 31, 2018
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Reforged - Riding on Fire
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)
So the first five Iron Savior albums – the classic years of albums like Dark Assault, Condition Red, and Battering Ram – were all put out on Noise Records. Now, Noise was bought up by Sanctuary Records in 2001, and then in 2007 the whole of Sanctuary went bankrupt and was bought up by Universal, then sold to BMG. What this means is that the rights to those classic albums were all tangled up, and the band didn't have the capability of getting them rereleased. Further, BMG has been relaunching Noise with compilations of big-name bands like Kreator, Voivod, Grave Digger, etc. I don't know details, but I kind of doubt the artists are getting paid for those.
All of this is to explain why Iron Savior has put out this double-disc set of rerecorded versions of a lot of the good songs off those Noise-era albums. They couldn't just do a repressing, and for all they knew BMG would put out their own comp and they'd get jack-shit from it. So rather than a simple compilation, this is completely re-recorded versions of old classic songs like "Titans of Our Time", "Mindfeeder", "Warrior", "Tales of the Bold" and "Condition Red". I realize all those songs are from Condition Red, but that's their best album and it's not like everyone doesn't already know that.
The production is strong, with big guitars, and Piet happily resisted the urge to rework them with keyboards or some shit. He does rework the vocal melodies quite a bit, not just the recording, but the actual lines themselves. Admittedly, Piet has improved a lot as a singer since these songs were originally recorded, and he is still probably the best producer of backing vocals in the world, so the rearranged vocal lines sound good, but in some cases he went overboard. "Titans of Our Time" and "Eye to Eye" sound amazing, but he overdid it with "Battering Ram" and the song loses some of its punch.
The track list is a bit suspect, despite the presence of the essential Condition Red songs, some of the best shit on Battering Ram, like "Wings of Deliverance", "Tyranny of Steel", and "Machine World" are inexplicably absent. Mostly the older tunes benefit more from the additional work, as they had the most primitive recording jobs to begin with.
I was suspicious of this, but overall I found it really a solid compilation. Some of the reinterpretations are really vast improvements, while even the ones I don't like as well are still good, they are just not the versions I like best. If you are a fan of this band, then this is something you can buy sight unseen, as it is over ninety minutes of Iron Savior really lavishing attention and care on their classic stuff.
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