Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Iron Mask - Fifth Son of Winterdoom (2013)

If someone listens to power metal in any from and they don’t know who Dushan Petrossi is, they’re doing something wrong. He is one of the premier guitarists/songwriters out right now and his bands Iron Mask and Magic Kingdom are immaculate. He writes some of the most bad ass riffs this side of the galaxy. As a huge fan of both bands, I was extremely excited to find out that another Iron Mask album was being released. “Revenge is My Name” was great but the last three albums “Hordes of the Brave,” “Shadow of the Red Baron” and “Black as Death” were incredible. Even though there was a bunch of different musicians and vocalists across the albums, they all felt like they belonged together. After finally getting my hands on “Fifth Son of Winterdoom,” I must say it’s a slap in the face and the biggest letdown this year.

One thing that this album has trouble with is being interesting, it feels half-hearted and uninspired. “Back into Mystery” and “Like a Lion in a Cage” are just plain boring and very repetitive. Dushan Petrossi’s guitar work doesn’t even pop out like it used to. “Only One Commandment” has a pretty nice riff with a good solo, it’s too bad the rest of the song is generic. “Seven Samurai” is extremely corny and not in a good way. “Fifth Son of Winterdoom” is a unique track because not only is it their longest song to date but because it tries really hard to be an all-out epic. It succeeds for the most part, but the chorus is god awful. Everything on the track besides the train wreck chorus is great. “Angel Eyes, Demon Soul” is one of the worst power metal songs in years. It feels like a Poison B-side that they locked away in the studio vault hoping that it would never come out. “Rock Religion” and “Father Farewell” are more kinks in the armor with “Father Farewell” being dreadfully slow and boring. “Eagle of Fire” sounds like Iron Mask of old. It has blazing guitars (the solo is just awesome) and it’s catchy as hell. Why couldn’t the whole album be like this? “Reconquista 1492” has a great classical guitar intro, but then it goes right back to the boring sound that plagues the rest of the album. “Run to Me” is another great track on the album that sounds like it belongs on one of their older albums. “The Picture of Dorian Grey” closes the album and it’s a decent effort but it falls a little flat, although the solo at the end is mind-blowing.

It’s so hard to enjoy or even recommend “Fifth Son of Winterdoom.” They completely stripped away whatever made Iron Mask great. The neo-classical guitar work is damn near gone and the epic choruses are nowhere to be found. It sounds like they are trying to bring back hair metal and it just doesn’t fit them. I think it’s great when a band tries different things on each album; however you have to know how to do it. “Black as Death” changed their sound a little, but it still had great songs and it still sounded like them. “Fifth Son of Winterdoom” is a huge disappointment and it should be skipped. Dushan Petrossi is still a great guitarist and let’s hope the next album he makes, whether with Iron Mask or Magic Kingdom, is a step forward instead of two steps back like this album.


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