Iron Mask – “Diabolica” (AFM Records)
Blindingly blissful melodic power metal from Belgium! Those not familiar with the awesome talent of founder guitarist Dushan Petrossi could do worse than to check out this stupendous 6th album. Gone is vocalist Mark Boals and in walks Helker’s Diego Valdez whose winning combination of stratospheric highs mixed with heavenly passion matches the defining sound to Iron Mask! Think deep folk melodies mixed with neoclassical solos, flowing vocals and a power driving rhythm from bassist Vassili Moltchanov and drummer Rami Ali (Frontline, Kiske – Somerville) and you won’t be far off. Two years in the making and “Diabolica” is the result, drawing conceptual inspiration from the likes of Faust and Galileo, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the band’s name itself comes from the classic novel by Alexander Dumas. Equally, despite being a band formed in 2002, Iron Mask have a strong late 70s hard rock element in their music, at times reminiscent of Rainbow or Dio, not to mention the bunches of guitar god aspiring solos delivered extravagantly by Petrossi himself although its worth noting that the band these days is indeed a band, having evolved from being a platform for his talents. Likewise, despite the obvious power metal label, much of the material, while being at times speedily delivered, clocks in at lengthier than average times, making for an epic feel to the likes of ‘The Rebellion Of Lucifer’, ‘Oliver Twist’ and the 13 minute ‘Cursed In The Devil’s Mill’. Personally I think it works a treat, not just showing more substance to the band, but given how much more active on the live front they are these days, an impressive array of works to awe more fans with.