So the mighty Ironflame have returned with their third album in less than three years; with their sophomore effort being released just sixteen months after the debut. Andrew D’Cagna has this incredible ability to consistently write songs that give me those same feelings that I got the first time I heard Halford, Dio or Dickinson. As he writes and records everything, there is a true consistency to the music without being the same album over and over again. While the sophomore was much more ambitious in the song writing. Blood Red Victory sees the direction of the songs more in line with the debut. This time he also seems more focused; and the result is nothing short of amazing.
One thing that I noticed immediately was that the solos were no longer being supplied by Wheeling, West Virginia shredder extraordinaire Jim Dofka. His solos on the sophomore were beyond brilliant. Instead, this time D’Cagna decided to go with the two shredders that are part of his current touring band; Jesse Scott and Quinn Lukas, the latter being with D’Cagna in the Pittsburgh veteran melodic metallers Icarus Witch. That was a really smart move. Both guitarists are brilliant live so it was great to see their actual input into the songs. Each solo on this album is brilliantly thought out and take each song to the next level.
The songs themselves are just metal as fuck. The riffs, the melodies, the solos, and those unforgettable vocals. Andrew D’Cagna’s vocals are just brilliant and I truly believe he set the bar for the modern true metal vocalist. The opener, “Gates of Evermore” has an opening riff that sets the tone for the song. It kind of reminds me of Glory to the Brave era HammerFall. The melodies are catchy and the choruses are infectious. These are heavy metal anthems that can stand rightly along side any of the classics. I dare you to listen to “Honor Bound” and not get that feeling like you are hearing metal again, for the first time. “Blood Red Cross!” That “OHHHH” during the bridge is fucking brilliant! I could listen to that song over and over again. The song builds to this incredible solo three quarter the way in….I got goose bumps!
I don’t know how this guy keeps pumping out quality heavy metal; all along with playing bass and writing songs with stoner rock band Brimstone Coven as well as being full time vocalist for Icarus Witch. “Graves of Thunder” has that melodic metal feel of an Icarus Witch song while still having that Ironflame sound. “Grace and Valor” take it right back to epic power metal with some incredible dual harmony riffs driving the verse. Brilliant! “Night Queen” is the longest song on the album and reminds me of “Shadow Queen” off the debut…could even be a sequel. Nonetheless, none of that take away from the sheer brilliance of the execution. The song sucks you in with the melodies and hooks. The perfect album closer.
Classic heavy metal is making a comeback and there are some really great bands and some incredible metal coming from this resurgence. Ironflame have set the bar, quite high I might add for this movement. Three consistently incredible true metal albums loaded with everything that made me obsessed with metal to this day. Keep ’em coming Andrew!!