IRON FIRE is actually well-established power metal band. They hails from Denmark and they have just issued their 8th full-length so we took the chance to have one interview and do one chat about their biography and their brand new offering.
Iron Fire is just about the release it;s 8th full-length Beyond the Void so please could you introduce us with your latest record from your point of view?
Well the album was recorded over a period of a year or so. The songs were written in advance at the same time as the songs on our previous album Among the Dead, which at many points stands out compared to the previous Iron Fire albums. Beyond the Void could be seen as a twin album to Among the Dead, mainly because the style of the music is pretty much the same, and the approach was pretty much the same; making great songs that shine individually but still offers some kind coherence to the album. We started the recordings in September 2017 by recording drums at Antfarm Studio with Tue Madsen as engineer. At the same time we had bunked up in a rented house neerby where the tracking of guitars and bass kicked off. When the drums were done, the basic tracks were therefore almost finished. And then a lot of other projects started to get going, and we also needed to get Dawn of Creation released, so the recordings of additional guitars and vocals were postponed andrecorded later – on and off. Finally in the fall the recordings were done, and we sent the tracks back to Tue for the mixing. And I must say that we are extremely sanctified with the result. We got the perfect sound for these songs. Very heavy sounding album, but with a touch of organic melodiousness to it. Tue placed himself perfect in between Tommy Hansen and Jacob Hansen, to producers from Iron Fires past.
As a matter of fact Iron Fire has many albums so ”Beyond the Void” is your 8th full-length if I am correct. Could you compare your latest records with your previous albums?
I think it’s nine if you count Metalmophosized in. Anyway, to answer your question I think that every Iron FIre album offers something different but still recognisable. Every album stays within the boundries of power metal, but try to challenge the style a bit. Not too dramatic, but still…But of cause over a period of twenty years things are changing, and so are we. The band is different then back in the days. Our attitude towards many things have changed as well. But the music is pretty consistant I think. However if you compare Thunderstorm to Beyond the Void there is a really big difference. But the change has been gradually, and our degree of comfort in making an album has rised the bar for what we can do. But as our ability grows so does our expectations to our performance. And I don’t think we are more satisfied now than in the early days. There’s always things that can be better. If I should mention how we developed stylistically, I would say that we have become harder, and the songs has become slightly more complex. It’s much more difficult to play these new songs than the old ones. There are more subtle things happening in the songs, and we have a more versatile approach to an album. On Beyond the Void every song have it’s own unique groove, and tells it’s own story. And to cope with that recording wise, there can be no standard solutions. We had that approach to Among the Dead as well, but in a slightly different way. First of all what makes Among the Dead a stand out record is that it’s not much of a band effort, because we did not really rehearse before entering the studio. Martin was living in Norway at the time, so there was no time for rehearsals. So me and Kirk rehearsed the songs a bit together, but mostly we prepared separately and just went to the studio to see what happens. Every other album has been more of a band effort with regular rehearsals to try out the songs before entering the studio. But since the songs on Beyond the Void was already written, we didn’t rehearse as much as the band was used to, but we did play almost every song through at least one time. So it was more a band effort than Among the Dead, which was my comeback album. Another thing that has changed is the writing process since we make pre-production of everything today. That makes the recording process different than before. Stylistically one might argue that we have changed for a more hard hitting metal style, which is right to some extent. However all of these elements have always been present in Iron Fire. But our focus have shifted a bit and the production work is slightly different than before. So all in all we set other standards for our selves and we need to move forward.
In fact, it will be indeed welcome if you could present Iron Fire to our readers since we have for the first time opportunity to have a chat with the band.
Well Iron Fire is a power trio based in Copenhagen. We have existed for more than twenty years, first under the name Misery, then we were called Decades of Darkness, and then ended up with Iron Fire. The reason for the changes in name was due to changes in style. We have released nine albums from 2000 where our debut album Thunderstorm came out. That was a very naive true power metal album with classic power metal hymns. But the songs were great and our record company at the time Noise Records seemed satified with the result and the sales as well. However they were not quite satified with the follow up On the Edge, that didn’t sell more than Thunderstorm. And since the newer material had another ring to it than classic power metal, they decided to cancel the contract, and we ended up on Napalm Records, on which we released the next five albums. After the release of Voyage of the Damned however they decided not to the renew the contract and we instead signed with Crime Records, which is a company that Martin was involved with. In the old days we were five members with Martin doing the vocal dudies exclusively. But on the last albums we have
been a trio, which actually works out pretty good. Kirk does all the guitars and can work on his terms, which of course also have some limitations, since we need to get the songs to work in a live situation. Martin has more things to attend to now he’s handling the bass as well, but me and Martin have played together for twenty years, so we have a really solid rythemsection, and it’s a great challenge for us to make the songs, especially the old ones, work in a live situation. And we cannot hide behind each other, since there’s only one instrument of each. We have to be at our top game all the time when we play. We actually joke a little about our own style, calling us the power metal answer to Motorhead.
Since there are our readers who are unfamiliar with the band Iron Fire could you compare your music and style with some other groups on scene and describe your style more for those who are uncommon with the group yet?
Well, we usually do not compare our music to other artists, because we don’t really think about it that way. We just try to make some great songs and try to think about expression instead of who or what it sounds like. However, when we were younger we thought more about these things and if you spin our first album, you can definately tell a lot of inspiration from different power metal acts such as Running Wild, Rage, Stratovarius, Helloween, Hammerfall and Blind Guardian. With time our approach and sound has matured a lot and we sound more like our selves, even though it’s still classic power metal. Having said that everyone needs inspiration, and already on the first album, even though it was kind of stylistically pure, we had other inspirations from things as Hard Rock and Thrash metal. And those influences became more distinct along with the releases. On the On the Edge album inspirations from especially Hard Rock was quite evident. On Revenge I think Iron Fire had cut back on the Hard Rock influences an instead made music inspired more by acts like Masterplan, Merciful Fate and Dream Evil. And that approach kept on going until Voyage of the Damned where the band had a more modern approach to the music. So the inspirations for that album was more stuff like Ayreon, Nevermore and Star One. Today the inspirations are not something we think to much about, but if I have to give some sort of direction I would say that Among the Dead and Beyond the Void sounds somewhere in between Testament and Primal Fear.
What is the most important album in Iron Fire’s discography from your point of view? And which one was the most popular?
We don’t know which one is the most popular. The audiance seems to really like Blade of Triumph, but the best selling album most be Thunderstorm. But it’s hard to compare those albums, because of the general decline in recordsales. So I guess the answer most be one of those two. The most important album is another story because it depends on the eyes that see. Also because that every album is important. But at the end of the day I guess the most important album in the Iron Fire history most be Thunderstorm, since this layed the foundation for our career. A lot of work has been done to promote the band on that album, and we wouldn’t have been able to be on Crime Records and expect to sell much if it wasn’t for Thunderstorm. So eventhough we could have done things on Thunderstorm much better today, and eventhough we do not sing about dragons and kings anymore, we still meet people who love us because of that album. And we have to be proud and thankful for the opportunities this album gave us.
Do you plan to have some shows here and there with Iron fire soon and promote a brand new
Yes, we do have some shows planned. We actually would like to play some more live. But
it’s pretty hard when you’re living in a country where people hate power metal. But we will
see what the future bring. We would like to do a little touring in Europe.
Iron Fire was always known by nice and eye-catchy cover-artworks so what would you like to present by your covers?
Thank you. The coverart has always been something that we pay some attention to, since it has to fit the music. Eventhough it has sometimes been a struggle with our old company, who thought they needed to decide which kind of cover we needed. And that was not problematic until we made Voyage of the Damned. We kind of wanted to avoid to have a knight on the cover since it’s a sci-fi adventure. But Napalm Records had other ideas, and therfore we ended up wtih some ugly thing on the cover, which seemed like a good compromise everything considered. But we actually wanted something different. Just like the quarrels we had with Metalmorphisized. So today we are quite happy to have full artistic control, which is why these last three covers is my favorite. A good cover has to capture the essence of the music. And therefore not making people secondguessing on which style you play. It also has be a nice cover, it has to be done professionally and look good. On the last three covers we looked at death metal covers and got inspiration from those. I think we wanted it to look like if Iron Maiden had made a death metal album.
I would like to thank you for the interview and I hope to see you somewhere live!
No problem, we hope to you on the road.
Greetings Gunnar Olsen, Iron Fire
- Interview by Marko Miranovic