Nima : Together with a.o. Living Death and Angel Dust, Iron Angel was the cradle of German speed metal. Under the name Iron Angel the band was active in between 1983-1986 and with 'Hellish Crossfire' and 'Winds Of War' released two great albums that have been considered cult since many years. Especially the debut is for many, including myself, one of the school examples of speed metal. During 1997-2007 the band was active on paper, but didn’t come any further than a demo. In 2015 singer/frontman Dirk Schröder, the only remaining original band member, breathed new life into the band and luckily they have been back to stay. The band has since done several successful shows, and having witnessed their magnificent performance at the Headbangers Open Air festival in 2015 it was clear to me that the iron angel was back with a vengeance. Early next month, no less than 32 years after their last album, the speed metal legend finally comes with a new record.
The new line-up and the decades of absence have fortunately had no negative consequences for the sound and the style. You see, 'Hellbound' is utterly Iron Angel and continues where they left off in 1986. As soon as the opener 'Writings On The Wall' shreds out of the speakers it seems as if the past three decades have never existed. Although the music is straight from the eighties it doesn’t sound dated or obsolete for even a second. The band even sounds stronger than ever and still has that same youthful enthusiasm, audible passion for metal and more power than before. Of course the two classic albums are cult and untouchable, but if you hear 'Hellbound' the compositions are simply stronger. Schröder's voice and singing style is still very recognizable. However, the man sounds less shrill than in his younger years, and sings better and stronger than ever. What we have here is a true metal Walhalla with fantastic guitar work and very strong, highly catchy riffs, great solo’s and beautiful NWOBHM-like meldoies, powerful drums and very catchy vocals. There are simply no weak songs to be recognized here. Whether it’s the typical speed metal smashers like the aforementioned opener, 'Judgment Day', 'Deliverance In Black', the breathtaking 'Purist Of Sin' and 'Ministry Of Metal', sturdy pounders like the title track and 'Hell And Back' , the Accept-like hitter 'Carnivore Fleshmob', the more traditional-tinted 'Blood And Leather' or the 80s rocker 'Waiting For A Miracle', every song is a highlight on its own. And not to forget; something that is kept intact at all times is power.
This is pure METAL! The sound is nice and clear, so the whole comes into its own perfectly and has a huge impact from start to finish. Goddamn it, I haven’t banged my head so fanatically in a long time. This is just a magnificent traditional heavy/speed metal album that has everything a real metal fanatic can wish for. Definitely one of the best records of the year so far. Fans of the old work can’t go wrong with this album either, but also for old-school (speed) metal freaks and fans of bands like Living Death, old Accept, Angel Dust and Judas Priest and similar powerhouses, 'Hellbound' is simply a must. Hail!