Iron Allies – Blood In Blood Out Review

It sure seems like German bands who straddle the line between rock and metal really know how to have fun. I recently attended a Scorpions concert, and even at the age of 74, Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker, and their (slightly) younger compatriots put on a show for the ages. They have so many great songs with killer hooks, and they still seem like they’re having a blast playing together. Accept is another Teutonic band that knows how to throw a killer hard rock/metal tune together, and while I love a lot of their older material, I fell head over heels for their 2010 comeback album Blood of the Nations. I loved follow-up Stalingrad too. In fact, Steels review of said album is the first review I remember reading on Angry Metal Guy. When I saw Iron Allies drop into the promo bin, I nearly disregarded it due to the generic name, but when I opened the promo material, it revealed that the band is a project of former Accept guitarist Herman Frank. Frank appeared on Balls to the Wall and was with the band through much of their modern comeback stampede, so I couldn’t resist giving Iron Allies a chance.

If you’re familiar with anything that Accept has released in the current millennium, you know exactly what Iron Allies sounds like. Now, you might think that I mean this in a derogatory way, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, Blood In Blood Out may be littered with cliched lyrics and tried-and-true heavy metal and hard rock stylings, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t deliver the goods anyway. The embedded title track shows the band laying down a thick, mid-paced groove, and while it’s not the most dynamic song ever written, it’s an excellent platform over which the band can demonstrate their talents. Frank throws down a mean solo, drummer Francesco Jovino pounds away relentlessly, and the gritty, Jorny vocals of David Reece (who also did a short stint in Accept) lay waste to your ear holes like extra coarse sandpaper.

When I saw that the album was twelve tracks and a touch over 50 minutes, I was nervous that there would be a significant amount of bloat. But it turns out that my worries were unfounded. Blood In Blood Out is remarkably strong thanks to varied songwriting, tasty riffs, and Reece’s charismatic vocals. Two barn-burning heavy metal tracks (“Fear No Evil” and “Evil the Gun”) show the band playing fast as a shark with high-flying solos whizzing all over the place, but they’re followed up by the blues-drenched groove-fest “Martyr’s Burn.” This kind of dynamic pacing makes the album fly by, and the fact that it ends with a pair of epics, one fast (“Truth Never Mattered”) and one slow (“We Are Legend (You and I)”), ensures that you feel compelled to reach for the play button again when it’s done.

Like just about any AFM Records release, Blood in Blood Out is produced in modern heavy metal/hard rock fashion. The guitars have some serious crunch, and the bottom end is beefy. The tracklist could certainly be tightened up a bit, with a minute chopped from a track or two (“Martyrs Burn” for example) or a song or two could have been dropped altogether to shorten things up, although it would be hard for me to choose which ones I’d cut. If you like modern Accept, you’re going to like this album. Check out “Blood In Blood Out,” “Fear No Evil,” “Evil the Gun,” “Blood on the Land,” “Truth Never Mattered,” and “We Are Legend” for some highlights.

I wasn’t expecting to like Blood In Blood Out nearly as much as I do, but I actually enjoy it more than I liked the last two Accept records. Herman Frank has proven with this project’s debut that his contributions to Accept were not insignificant. Iron Allies have come to my aid again and again over the past few weeks, and I expect to call upon them for months to come.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: October 21st, 2022

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