Iron Fire

Voyage of the Damned

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Had Queensrÿche never "grown up" beyond, say, 1984, they'd probably sound like Iron Fire, and one needn't delve too deep into the Danish power metal ensemble's seventh album, Voyage of the Damned, to arrive at this assumption. Heck, if the junior high notebook-worthy cover art doesn't give away the kitty, then the sophomoric computerized dystopia depicted by "Enter Oblivion OJ-666" certainly should, as it basically reprises the ‘rÿche's "NM 156" for the new millennium, with far less stellar results. Oh, but it doesn't end there, as ensuing numbers like "Slaughter of Souls," "Ten Years in Space," and "Dreams of the Dead Moon" carry on, pushing the futuristic outer space trip with oft-clumsy lyrics about Star Gates, speed-of-light time dilation, and dusty satellites. There's also a painfully sappy love song aimed at little green men named "The Final Odyssey," and a ten-minute "epic" in the shape of the title track, clogging up hyperspace with its bulging hubris and razor-thin imagination (Martin Steene's histrionic delivery doesn't help matters, either). Beyond this, Iron Fire, to their credit, actually put on a good show of instrumental prowess throughout this LP, and they admittedly don't commit that many more sins than your average power metal ensemble (emphasis on "average"), but suffice to say there's nothing groundbreaking or overly exciting to report when a few simplistic synth lines frequently draw the most attention to tracks like "Taken," "Leviathan," and "Realm of Madness." Actually, the fact that Voyage of the Damned's ham-fisted sci-fi metal was unveiled just days before the international geek holiday of 2-1-12, which of course celebrated Rush's original form-defining magnum opus, only served to highlight Iron Fire's station in an entirely different galaxy, where quality is concerned.

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