Iron Savior - Condition Red

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Noise Records
Catalog Number: NO3610/74004
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:37:00

I've had trouble listening to Iron Savior as of late - mainly due to the lacklustre Dark Assault album which was bland and boring except for a few numbers. Their earlier albums captured me completely, but the similar nature of subsequent albums have left a numb, cold feeling inside. With trepidation, I opened and played the new album Condition Red. Predictable title aside, I was surprised by the power of the album, but by the end of this review you're going to wonder how I can be surprised as I'm about to lash out at many things Iron Savior.

Iron Savior have always had fairly long albums, but after four "proper" albums I've come to the conclusion that their albums don't need to be so long (aside from the always enjoyable cover tracks that IS include - in this case, Seal's "Crazy"). Every song on Condition Red is around the 4:30 to 5:30 mark, and after 13 songs (67 minutes in length) this becomes a tad sickening to the point of I just want to switch the album off. Even though there are some terrific songs at the end of the album, like "No Heroes," "Paradise," and "Thunderbird" - sometimes I just can't make it that far because the whole album sounds the same. If this album was cut to around 45 minutes, tightened up musically, improved vocally, then this would be a killer. As it stands, Iron Savior throw too much waste in to what should be a good album to listen to.

Piet still lacks vocally - he is singing in an extremely narrow range, so if you don't like his Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) type vocals then I don't think you'll enjoy this album. But his vocals become annoying after such a long time and there's even a few production faults where you can hear him "blowing" into the mic as he's singing. This shouldn't happen with such a famed producer and an established band. The guitars, and there are two of them, are a full-blown force worthy of the Iron Savior theme that continues to enthrall (read: haunt) us. Joachim Kustner & Piet Sielck are great guitarists and there's so much attraction to the work, but the predictable pace and heading of Condition Red keeps the enjoyment away from their work. The drumming is by former Gamma Ray skinsman Thomas Nack who makes an ultimately unworthy return. Mix it up, man, don't repeat the same double bass beats over 66 minutes. My ears are deaf enough as it is without being subjected to constant, unoriginal beats.

The songs need some tightening up, although this has always been a problem - except for the first two albums. Sure, they can justify it by saying they are just playing heavy metal, but that's not good enough nowadays. They need room to manoeuvre and room to create wonderful music that I know they are capable of. Standout songs include the wonderfully vicious "Tales Of The Bold," the simplistic driven "Warrior," and the energetic "Ironbound" along with the tight-gripped, electrifying opener "Titans Of Our Time".

Also, Piet, kill the Iron Savior story, too. It's quickly running out of steam and it will easily become boring and contrived. Plus, I'm sick of it even though I'm a fan of science fiction. You've named the band after the story so either change the name of the band or change the story. Either way - do something. Iron Savior have also delivered 5 albums in five years (including the intermediate Interlude). Please do what Stratovarius did and take a break and get involved in other things - write a book, or a screenplay, or a television series, or go back to producing - but please take your time with the next Iron Savior album.

Again, I don't mean to rain on your parade, Piet, but you have included the track "I Will Be There" as a bonus track when it is clearly part of the Iron Savior story - that's just not good enough in my books. If it's part of the story, then include it. If it's not part of the story, then the bonus track should be included as the final number. Although I am glad you included the song because it is damn good duet. Also, please get somebody to proof-read all of your lyrics and story - because the grammar and spelling is a disgrace.

I don't know how to conclude this review. Remove the filler stuff from Condition Red and you've got yourself a great album, but as it stands, it needs a lot of work. Next time I want to hear 10 songs over 45-50 minutes of pure heavy metal.

[Gary should be happy to learn IS's latest is a little over 45 minutes... how it sounds is another thing - PW ed.]

Similar To: Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian

Also released in Japan in 2004 by JVC Japan (61897)

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Titans Of Our Time (3:54) / Protector (4:36) / Ironbound (5:22) / Condition Red (4:57) / Warrior (4:48) / Mindfeeder (4:45) / Walls Of Fire (4:21) / Tales Of The Bold (5:31) / I Will Be There (5:50) / No Heroes (4:15) / Paradies (5:480 / Thunderbird (7:23) / Crazy (5:07)

Jan Eckert - bass, vocals
Andreas Kuck - keyboards, vocals
Thomas Nack - drums, percussion
Piet Sielck - guitars, vocals, choir/chorus Rolf Kohler - choir/chorus

Iron Savior (ep) (1997)
Iron Savior (2007)
Unification (1999)
Interlude (ep) (1999)
Dark Assault (2001)
Condition Red (2002)
Battering Ram (2004)
Megatropolis (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: December 19th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 765
Language: english


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