Having been introduced to multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Andrew D’Cagna’s work through his bass playing for Brimstone Coven, I was not aware that he was such a busy guy. Apparently not content with just releasing the first full-length album by blackened doom group Coldfells earlier in 2017, this year also sees the release of a new project on the near opposite end of the spectrum. But taken on its own terms, Ironflame offers up some enjoyable power metal on Lightning Strikes the Crown.
While it’s safe to put Ironflame under the power metal banner, the project shows off a lot of variety. The opening “Firestorm” and “Heavy Metal Warriors” make for hard hitting speed metal, “Marching On” has an upbeat tempo reminiscent of mid-era Blind Guardian, “Eternal Night” is an excellent slice of Iron Maiden worship, and “Fallen Glory” treads on doom ground. Fortunately, the catchy as hell choruses and consistent instrumentation keep things unified.
It’s also worth noting that aside from select guest guitar solos, D’Cagna performs all the instruments on here. The vocals are undoubtedly the strongest asset, generally operating at a pleasant midrange similar to Spreading the Disease-era Joey Belladonna with smooth harmonies and wails coming up to great effect. Elsewhere, the guitar tone is tight without being too chunky and the drums are steady though might sound a little too clean for some. And seeing how I know D’Cagna as a bass player, I can’t help but be amused by the minimal bass presence on here.
Overall, Lightning Strikes the Crown showcases Ironflame as one of the most energetic bands to hit the American power metal scene. Its style could be seen as straightforward or basic for the genre but it’s clear that a lot of care was put into the songwriting and even the slightly lesser songs will beg for multiple listens. Here’s hoping that this project aspires to even greater efforts in the future.