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Iron Savior - 'Live At The Final Frontier' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9e/bd/c6/Iron-Savior-Live-At-The-Final-Frontier-6-1441222620.jpg Hot

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German engineering at its best ... "Vorsprung durch Technik" indeed!

Whilst Helloween, and its spin off Gamma Ray, undoubtedly kept the flame alive in the early 1990s, the resurgence of dynamic Power Metal as a vibrant force in Europe can largely be credited to two bands – HammerFall and Iron Savior. Yet, the contrasting fortunes of the two bands are, in many ways, rather curious. That's not to say that IS haven't had their successes, but in reality after a promising start that saw them trade blows like equals, the mighty Swede's have surged ahead in the popularity (and sales) stakes. Musically speaking however, in my humble opinion at least, Piet Sielck's men have always had the edge.

After twenty years in the business, eight studio albums and the recent re-working of their 2007 opus 'Megatropolis' (retitled 'Megatropolis 2.0' as per the dictate of modern fashion) IS have finally gotten around to releasing their first ever live recording. Released as an exclusive DVD/2CD package, 'Live At The Final Frontier' captures the band in their home town of Hamburg earlier this year; for the curious amongst you who have often wondered what all the fuss was about, it should provide the answers to one or two burning questions.

Like most modern concert DVD's, the camera work is proficient yet clinical, and whilst it does give you a flavour of what it was like to be in the crowd that night, it's still no substitute for the real thing and after a while tends to get rather routine and dull. The soundtrack however is a completely different kettle of fish... close your eyes, settle back and let the band guide your imagination back to what it's really like to be in the thick of it at a full-on Metal show.

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As the intro 'Ascendence' kicks in, the crowd seem rather muted at first as if surprised by the show actually starting, but as the crescendo builds and first song proper ('Last Hero') comes roaring through the PA, you instinctively know that is all about to change. Cut from the same cloth as aforementioned behemoths Helloween and GR (with maybe even a bit of Blind Guardian thrown into the mix as well from time to time), IS are bloody good at what they do and cherry picking some of the best tracks from their expansive back catalogue serves only to reinforce that.

'Starlight', 'Revenge Of The Bride' and the Accept meets Judas Priest-like 'Break The Curse' all fly by in a frenzied blur of riffs and anguished vocals – exactly what you'd want from a band of this calibre. The in-between-song audience interaction and announcements are largely in German (natch), but that doesn't detract one iota from an increasingly engaging performance characterised by Iron Savior classics 'Hall Of The Heroes', 'Condition Red' and 'Coming Home'. The condensed 'Iron Watcher' medley works extremely well, and as a fitting tribute to their heroes the evening ends on a rousing cover of 'Breaking The Law'.

German engineering at its best ... "Vorsprung durch Technik" indeed!

Dave Cockett

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