|Review: Ironware - Break Out|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 7, 2008
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.7/5 (74%) (10 Votes)
There was a period right after the great Power Metal boom of the late 90s which saw venerable German label Limb Music snapping up every young European metal band that showed even the most diminutive strain of dragon-slaying DNA. In Limb's defence, the majority of the material released under their supervision was of a very high standard, including the debuts of such luminaries as Burning Point, Galloglass, and perhaps most lucratively, the mighty Rhapsody. It was very rare an album would disappoint, and just one of those albums is Break Out, the first — and so far only — release from Sweden's Ironware.
Led by Freternia frontman Pasi Humppi, Ironware are certainly more on the metallic side than his usually feathery leanings, going straight for the jugular with an Iron Savior/Gamma Ray assault packed tight with Iron Maiden lead breaks, Helloween melodies and Jag Panzer precision. Ironware's faster segments bare similarities to Persuader at their most raucous, particularly on "Dark Sun", and the fabulous "Sanctuary" — which also houses the catchiest chorus the album has to offer. Humppi's rough vocals, again, are the weak link here as they do little to enhance the melodic nature of the album, but the hooks themselves make up for this minor grievance as they certainly stick around longer than most. Shiny opener "Holy Man" is perhaps the most accomplished track on here, proving that Ironware can take a generic staple and kick some well needed life into it. The production, courtesy of Andy LaRocque, is nice and thick, but can be a tad light on the double bass drums at times, making them sound spindly and anemic.
By no means the most innovative or compelling Power Metal album out there, I've heard — and own — much worse, and if we ever hear from these guys again, a storming sophomore effort could conceivably be on the cards.
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