Friday saw Lion Music re-release ‘Hordes of the Brave’, the second album by neo-classical metal outfit Iron Mask, led by Belgian guitar virtuoso Dushan Petrossi, originally released in 2005. Having sold out in its original format, the label has printed just 1000 copies of the album, which also shows off the talents of vocalists Goetz “Valhalla jr” Mohr and Oliver Hartmann, keyboard player Richard Andersson and bassist Vassili Moltchanov and drummer Anton Arkhipov from Petrossi’s other outfit, Magic Kingdom.
Given the extraordinary technical talents of Petrossi, it’s perhaps unsuprising that this album will please fans of bands like Dragonforce, Rhapsody of Fire and Firewind. However, fans of both Sabaton and Nightwish would also benefit from giving this album a listen as well. This is not straight-up power metal: Richard Andersson has been allowed the freedom to put his own emphasis on the music, and as a result the music is a lot more symphonic than the aforementioned genre. Furthermore, with Mohr and Hartmann sharing vocal duties, the difference in vocal styles and ranges allows for more diversity across the record. ‘Demon’s Child’, for example, is a soaring epic with Mohr’s higher range really befitting the lethal drums and quicker song pace. ‘The Invisible Empire’, on the other hand, is a lot more steady and is definitely more suited to the measured tones of Hartmann. That said, the term ‘epic’ is one that can be attributed to any of the eleven tracks on the album, whether it’s the full-bodied attack of ‘Freedom’s Blood – the Patriot’ or the ‘ballad’-esque ‘Crystal Tears’. And it all hits a new high when Mohr and Hartmann combine forces on ‘Iced Wind of the North’, the best of both worlds colliding in devastating fashion.
Of course, we can’t talk about a Dushan Petrossi project without mentioning the man himself, and he is once more on blistering form. Opener ‘Holy War’ doesn’t so much attack your ears as land a well-aimed petrol bomb between them from the moment you press play. The guitar work across the album is as strong as ever, but a special mention has to go to closer ‘Troops of Avalon’, which is a barrage of clean notes that do not merge with any of the other instruments going on around it.
Obviously, this is a limited edition release, so pick it up as quickly as you can. Then get the other three releases from Iron Mask. Trust me, you’ll love it. 8/10
1) Holy War
2) Freedom’s Blood – The Patriot
4) The Invisible Empire
5) Demon’s Child
6) High In The Sky
7) Alexander The Great – Hordes Of The Brave (part I)
8) Crystal Tears
9) Iced Wind of the North
10) My Eternal Flame
11) Troops of Avalon