Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Here's The Iron Mask, Where's The Man?: A Review of Iron Mask's Fifth Son Of Winterdoom

Belgium born heavy metalers, Iron Mask, are poised to unleash their fifth and latest effort, already available in European markets, Fifth Son of Winterdoom on November 19th throughout North America.  The band, formed by Belgian guitar virtuoso Dushan Petrossi, features Mark Boals handling the vocal duties.  Mark first came under my personal radar screen on the Monsters of Rock cruise (ever notice that it always gets back to "The Cruise" where I'm concerned, eh?) when he stepped in for the unavailable Tim "The Ripper" Owens with the Dio Disciples.

Guitarist Dushan Petrossi formed Iron Mask in 2002, with the basis being the book "Man In The Iron Mask" by Alexander Dumas and the first album, called Revenge is My Name, followed soon afterwards.  Hordes of the Brave dropped in 2005 and featured a near completely different line-up than the previous effort.  It took another 5 years for the third album, Shadow of the Red Baron, to materialise, but then we received Black As Death just a year later in 2011.  Now in 2013 they serve up their fifth album, Fifth Son of Winterdoom.  All tracks for Fifth Son of Winterdoom were composed by Petrossi, the sole member from the days of the Revenge Is My Name release.  He is joined by Vassili Moltchanov on bass, Andreas Lindhal on keyboards, Ramy Ali behind the kit and of course the aforementioned Mark Boals handling the vocal duties.

Fifth Son of Winterdoom is my first experience with the Belgians and the music has a very progressive/power metal sound or flavour to it that I quite enjoy.  The album artwork features two snarling dogs one white and one black, a baby wrapped in a hooded cloak, and an armoured, caped and masked warrior wielding a staff as he reigns in the snarling dogs on chains.  All against a backdrop of swirling snow, mountains and twin towers, now that's an album cover, some real work went into that!  For the songs themselves there are only two of the 12 included here that run under four minutes, six of them are well over five minutes and one clocks in at a whopping 10:02!  We begin with "Back Into Mystery" as the opening selection followed up with "Like A Lion In A Cage" both at over 5 minutes in length, featuring tons of guitar work and an abundance of melodic vocal hooks.  Beginning with pounding drums and a grinding guitar riff track three, "One Commandment" together with the excellent "Seven Samurai" at number four complete the "two-punch to the balls" package of the best songs included here.  The absolute epic and not just in the length of run time at over ten minutes, but everything from the beginning sound effects which coincide with the cover art to the chanting chorus to the showcase of Petrossi's talents, title track "Fifth Son of Winterdoom" sits in the fifth song position of the fifth album....coincidence?  "Angel Eyes Demon Soul" is a more straight ahead metal sounding composition while "Rock Religion", has received the official video treatment and is a good representation of the album.  Petrossi's tender ode to his father who passed on last year can be found next with "Father Farewell" before the pace charges forward again in "Eagle of Fire".  "Reconquista 1492" hits just over seven minutes beginning with an acoustic guitar prelude before suddenly gearing up and ploddingly draws the listener through to "Run To Me", a more uplifting composition.  Chosen for the grand finale and album closer we find the near eight minute "The Picture of Dorian Grey" a little reminiscent to me of some of the works of Iron Maiden, a certain favourite of mine.

Iron Mask have produced exactly the kind of album I enjoy more with each listen, finding something new with every spin as the songs grow on you.  Here's the official video for "Rock Religion" and below are the links for purchasing and websites, drop by and tell 'em Decibel Geek sent ya!


The Meister

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