Iron Mask
Shadow Of The Red Baron

2010, Lion Music
Heavy Metal

Gli Iron Mask sono chiamati alla prova più difficile: la riconferma...
Review by Daniele Carlucci - Publish on: 13/01/10

After the success obtained with their album “Hordes Of The Brave”, Iron Mask had to face the hardest test, which was to prove once again the high standard of their performances. But what surprises us is that the guitarist Petrossi and his band have made a significant improvement: now the band, with their new album “Shadow Of The Red Baron”, seems to be ready to approach a wide public.

At the beginning of 2010, Iron Mask come up with the third full-length of their ten-year-long career. “Shadow Of The Red Baron” is an album with even more features compared to their previous works, which were mostly heavy metal oriented; it seems that this album is created especially for a greater audience. Some songs sound mainly like powerful and striking hard rock tracks. The focus is always on the melody, enriched with the superlative technique of Petrossi, the real guitar virtuoso, whose style, for some reasons, is reminiscence of Malmsteen and Romeo (Symphony X). Their latest piece of work is made up not only with classical music and neoclassical metal elements, but also with symphonic and epic features. Besides the remarkable guitar riffs, stand out the refrains duly harmonized  and reinforced by more voices; all this thanks to the contribution of Oliver Hartmann, one of the artists who have co-operated in creating the album.

The title-track, the longest track of the record, opens the album: you can be thrilled with wild rhythms , furious riffs and evidence of great technique, which make a significant impact on listening. This is an astonishing start; a song which could have been included in “Rising Force” or “Marching Out” by Malmsteen. After the title-track you can enjoy the riding “Dreams”, full of melody and in real classic heavy metal style: you can listen to Hartmann in this track, which is the only song where he is the lead singer. The keyboard player Andreas Lindahl introduces “Forever In The Dark”, which softens the wild rhythms of the previous pair of songs. The determination of the vocalist Valhalla Jnr takes turn with phrases taken from Gregorian chants. Outstanding is the melodious ending of the guitar solo: here Petrossi does a very good job in harmonizing the melody. The dark song “Resurrection” is introduced by a distorted and oriental riff, while the atmosphere cheers up with the song “Sahara”, in which you can appreciate the guest Lars Eric Mattsson during the third guitar solo. The intro of “Black Devil Ship” is in perfect epic style and it brings to mind the green boundless meadows of Scotland and Ireland, where the Celts were the dominant people long time ago. Instead of the sound of  a bagpipe you can listen the music performed of extravagant Petrossi, who unleashes himself in an impetuous and rousing performance. The melody is once again the predominant element in “We Will Meet Again”, but neoclassical metal influences strongly come back in “Universe”, so that we could consider this song connected to the title-track. Then we find “My Angel Is Gone”, the ballad of the album: here sweet female voices and acoustic guitars introduce a song full of pathos and feelings. “Only The Good Die Young”, like “Dreams”, is in classic metal style with its massive and dominant riffs, majestic refrains and the keyboard solo, which adds to the guitar solo. The last track of the album “Shadow Of The Red Baron” is the semi-instrumental “Ghost Of The Tzar”, which seems to be uniquely conceived to highlight Petrossi’s skills and remarkable technique. The only words within this song that can be heard are from a sinister and scary voice. The purpose of the Iron Mask was to finish their album with something very unusual, so to maintain the high quality of their work.

Even if Petrossi’s guitar is clearly the main element of the album “Shadow Of The Red Baron”, its sounds aren’t so dominant compared to the other instruments, as it often happens particularly when we have to do with a virtuoso musician. At the same time Petrossi doesn’t take away so much space from the other musicians, but it seems that he mainly intends to highlight the band’s skills, more than his own. The themes dealt with in the album are highly influenced by the recent death of Petrossi’s mother: you can perceive the guitarist’s emotions when we listen to “Forever In The Dark”, “We Will Meet Again” and “My Angel Is Gone”. You also find other topics such as the epic stories narrated not only in the title-track, but also in “Resurrection” and “Black Devil Ship”

As you can see, the new year opens with a really interesting release and if the saying “well begun is half done” is right…

01.Shadow Of The Red Baron
03.Forever In The Dark
06.Black Devil Ship
07.We Will Meet Again
09.My Angel Is Gone
10.Only The Good Die Young
11.Ghost Of The Tzar

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