There are times when I hear music that it makes me want to do ridiculous things that I wouldn’t actually do in real life. It’s part of being excited about the metal medium and coming up with acts (nothing lewd or anything) I’d perform when the music has taken me over that is a way for me to convey my excitement.
Taken that into consideration, I want to take up a sword and ride horseback into a battle every time I hear Ironflame’s “Blood Red Victory,” their third record and one of their most glorious. I mean, so many of these songs end with a battle being won and the winning team riding home, head held high, how could you not want to jump in and lend your hands? Their brand of classic heavy metal will make you think of bands such as Maiden, Priest, Atlantean Kodex, Visigoth, and that ilk, and their songs are just brimming with power and might that your adrenaline will shoot through you as these songs take over. The band—Andrew D’Cagna (of Icarus Witch, Coldfells, Nechochwen and more who handles vocals and music), Quinn Lukas and Jesse Scott (guitar solos), though they expand to a quintet when playing live—never fails to find the sweet spots through these songs, often sounding like they’re celebrating their successful battles on the field in a way to discourage any fools who might challenge them.
“Gates of Evermore” blasts the record open, marching toward victory with torches in hand, as the band takes up their arms. Forces battle as wizards cast their spells, while “invaders from unfriendly shores” try to make their way in. Great leads soar, and the track comes to a fiery end. “Honor Bound” has a strong open that basks in heavy metal glory, and the chorus is just great with D’Cagna declaring, “We are honor bound.” The leads bring additional heat as D’Cagna warns they are, “Heavy metal warriors until the bitter end.” “Seekers of the Blade” has a tasty NWOBHM wave that opens up higher-register singing and a chorus that just swells. Intricate guitars help with the epic storytelling before the chorus rushes back and ends the drive. The title track has a Maiden-style start, complete with group “woah-oh” calls and the declaration of, “This holy grail we will defend.” Smooth leads glisten, a great solo arrives, and everything is turned to ash.
“On Ashen Wings” has a great lead that brings you in, as D’Cagna’s vocals lead the way. As a dragon threatens human safety, D’Cagna declares, “We vanquish him one and for all,” before the soloing awakens and spills blood. As the song plays out, yet another successful, bloody battle is celebrated while D’Cagna wails, “We stand as one,” as the track bows out. “Graves of Thunder” chugs hard as epic storytelling emerges. “The earth is trembling, the rain begins to fall,” D’Cagna notes as the song builds to its epic chorus. “Grace and Valor” has a massive start as D’Cagna calls, “We will not admit defeat, we will not die in vain,” as the song rumbles toward a tremendous chorus. Actually, every chorus on this record is top notch. Anyhow, the song stomps hard, making its way toward destiny as D’Cagna insists, “The future’s in our hands.” “Night Queen” is a darker, more foreboding track that pulls back the chaos as D’Cagna warns, “Beware the clutches of the night queen.” The tempo hits full tilt as punches are thrown, and elegant soloing swells in your chest, and the track ends in an explosion.
Ironflame’s music so easily can climb inside of you and get your heart pumping blood at a dangerous level, which probably led to me wanting to do that sword shit. “Blood Red Victory” is a triumphant record that’ll actually make you feel rejuvenated and alive, which happens far less frequently in the world of heavy metal. This is a barnburner of an album that is battle tested and refuses to blink in the eye of adversity. That’s where it thrives.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/IronflameUSA/
To buy the album, go here: https://divebombrecords.bigcartel.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.divebombrecords.com/site/