At some point that itch for traditional heavy metal hits the best of us and, depending on your standards, there are legions of retro acts out there ready to fill that void with nostalgic sound. The trouble I’ve always run into is a distinct misunderstanding of melody, outside of power metal, beyond the 90’s. Jump on YouTube or wherever and spin literally anything from the 80’s and no matter the budget or conceptual value the prerequisite was clear: You had to rock. So few millennium spawned groups understand the wild-but-formulaic rock music that lead to 80’s heavy metal being a big deal. Even the most popular examples of retro-80’s metal (Enforcer, Cauldron, White Wizzard, etc.) each carry their own unique troubles creating any distinct variation in melody. Spanish metal band Iron Hunter have not yet perfected their sound but their additional 80’s power metal influences go a long way to carry the melodic arc of their debut full-length.
Hailing from what the Romans considered the edge of the Earth along the coast of Galicia in northwestern Spain, Iron Hunter show great appreciation for 80’s metal gods Riot, Helloween and Madrid shredders Muro on their debut full-length ‘Mankind Resistance’. I wouldn’t say the record is the second coming of ‘Walls of Jericho’, or even Muro‘s ‘Pacto de Sangre’ but you can feel that same fire in their guitar work and wailing vocals. Despite this set of well known influences paired with a decent sense of melody ‘Mankind Resistance’ drops the ball just short of albums like Enforcer‘s ‘Diamonds’ in terms of really embracing some fiery cheese for the sake of authenticity.
What makes up for some lack of panache and vocal range is largely the guitar work that again pulls in a load of early power metal and some Maiden-isms towards that sweet spot where German power/speed metal hit best in the mid-80’s. They’re never quite as razor sharp as say early Holy Grail but any fan of power/speed metal should find something to like in most of ‘Mankind Resistance’. There are some dual guitar solos and some leads reminiscent of NWOBHM’s more flamboyant guitarists but for the most part Iron Hunter are focused on just pure 80’s heavy/speed metal.
Taken as it is, a debut from a pretty new heavy metal band, ‘Mankind Resistance’ is a comfortably average heavy metal full-length; A statement of identity rather than one of elevated art form or wild experimentation. With tempered expectations I found Iron Hunter‘s debut to be a pretty solid listen. It might not be as savage as late 80’s Riot or Liege Lord but as they avoid overdosing on speed the band develop some memorable early power metal moments. They’re onto something good and with some more attention paid to the vocal patterns they’ll soon be onto something great.
|Released||July 17, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Fighter Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Iron Hunter on Facebook|
A coming crimson storm. 3.5/5.0
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