IRON CURTAIN   “Metal Gladiator”

By Theron Moore

15 year scene vets IRON CURTAIN are gearing up to release their six song mini-album “Metal Gladiator” February 24. The LP is a mix of new and old songs featuring the following special guests on three older tracks – Noboru Jero Sakuma (GORGON, ABIGAIL, METALUCIFER) tearing it up on “Rough Riders,” Blumi (METAL INQUISITOR, MIDNIGHT RIDER) shredding on “Stormbound,” and Harry Granroth from RAM on “The Running Man.” Everything else is new. 

So, what should you expect from this record? Well, needless to say it, but I’ll state the obvious anyway, “Metal Gladiator” is riff rock heavy, often where the guitar leads over power the rest of the band. If you’re an IRON CURTAIN fan the news doesn’t get better from here. As for the variety in the riffs, there’s not too much. By track five, “Rough Riders,” it was all just blending together for me. 

All of the songs on this mini-album verge on the forgettable, there’s not much originality or band identity built into them. In fact, I never got a sense of who IRON CURTAIN  really are except that they do a lot of worshipping at the altar of classic speed metal and NWOBHM. There’s also a slight case to be made that IRON CURTAIN’s second song “Burn In Hell” is somewhat reminiscent of MEGADETH’s “Skin O’ My Teeth.” I’m not saying IRON CURTAIN ripped off MEGADETH  but there’s certainly an influence present there. 

The vocals seemed out of place at times, even strained, as it sounded on track three, “Rattlesnake.” If you’re gonna rock a classic metal sound you need vocals that can soar, maybe not all the time, but at the very least enough to hit a few high notes and hold them. For me, the vox on this LP were two dimensional and uninspired. 

It’s not my intention to beat these guys up, it takes guts to put a band together and release music that critics will analyze and write about, so the review ends here. I will say this: YOU listen to IRON CURTAIN and make up your mind about “Metal Gladiator”. I gave you my opinion which is a no-go, what’s yours?