It's always a great, momentous occasion when German metal titans Iron Savior releases a new album. You never know what you're going to get; there's always a new twist or angle and curious innovations and experimentation. Or not. As one finds in the comment section of every new Iron Savior song since Megatropolis (2007), "this sounds like every other Iron Savior song". Those naysayers are also met with rebuttals the like of "perhaps so, but it's still epic!!1!". The similarity between most (all) of their releases - especially the latter day ones - notwithstanding, Iron Savior have indeed proven themselves in the past with great speed/power metal anthems, and have always managed to cram something of unparalleled fury and intensity onto every single one of their albums. Just a little something that shows exactly what kind of solar flare ignited rocket ship debris they're made of. Imagine my surprise then when Kill Or Get Killed lacks exactly that.
The boys have certainly been productive; this is their fifth full length album this decade, and their eleventh overall. (That includes Megatropolis 2.0 and the Reforged album.) And Kill Or Get Killed is a very uniform album of even quality, a safe one in every respect. As already stated, they aren't going for a new swing, but pounding the tried and true stick like a battering ram. The lack of innovation is certainly a bit tedious, but overall, as with most of their material, Kill Or Get Killed is an enjoyable listen, mostly as the guys have settled on their style and are rolling with it, and you can tell it's still what they want to do. As always, Iron Savior keeps building their spacial opus with more battles, ships and battleships - but with lasers and cool shit like that. You'd think the theme would get stale, but it’s not like they’re going for a new Dune on every album, so the cheesy nature works with the fairly standardized power/speed metal setting.
You’ve got the slick guitar leads and harmonies, even some great dueling going on between main man Piet Sielck and Joachim Küstner. The riffing is definitely up to the Iron Savior standard. The melodies are fast and heavy, and drummer Patrick Klose has some furious drum patterns throughout, being one the best and most interesting players on the album. The griping comes mostly from the very standardized song structure and writing as well as Sielck’s distinct singing style rarely deviating from the pattern set more than 20 years ago. And as mentioned earlier, the album doesn’t have that striking hymn that makes you go, hmm? No Starlight, no Thunder From the Mountains and no Beyond the Horizon, but still, Kill Or Get Killed is a more uniform and on the whole more stable and generally higher quality album than any of the previous ones from this decade. It’s not exceptional, but it’s still some refreshing power metal that just doesn’t give two shits about being new and innovative. Obviously, Iron Savior knows all this, and they’re still going about their thing, because you know what? Fuck the naysayers; Iron Savior will do what they’re doing.
Standout tracks: Roaring Thunder, Until We Meet Again