CONCERT: Iron Savior @ Orlandina

Band: Iron Savior
Venue: Orlandina, RU
Genre: Power/speed metal
Date: 13th April 2012

There is one thing which I love about power metal: it remains almost impossible not to have a grin on your face while headbanging. While some of the more saccharine style is not really to my taste, German quartet Iron Savior add in a bit of bite from speed metal to make it sufficiently heavy for my ears, and this was full demonstrated to me in their first ever gig in Russia at the Orlandina Klub. I can only imagine that the issues were visa-related and not from a lack of audience participation, which St. Petersburg provided in buckets. The venue was a little on the small side, and the audience were not exactly numerous, but they more-than-compensated in terms of volume, including the usual slurred cries for “Riding On Fire” and “Touching The Rainbow”.

One slightly irritating aspect of Russian concerts is that the venue usually opens its doors 2 hours before a concert starts, mostly due to ensuring people buy drinks given the cloakroom is free. As a result requires a lot of waiting around given there’s normally only one band playing (such as it was with Moonspell). When Iron Savior hit the stage, however, there was a warm welcome as they launched into “Starlight” from latest album The Landing with its catchy chorus and thundering drumming from Thomas Nack. Joachim Küstner was a cool customer throughout the show, even when delivering his solos, while bassist Jan-Sören Eckert was the complete anthithesis, a wild maniac with amusing facial expressions and quips as inter-song banter, and his bass was right up in the mix, proven by the sound thumping in my chest. Frontman Piet Sielck was fantastic both in his singing and playing, leaning right over the audience during some of solos and engaging in several axe-tradeoffs during instrumental breaks.

The setlist ranged across all of Iron Savior’s albums except Megatropolis, although precedence was obviously given to The Landing. That said, the setlist flowed fairly smoothly but without sounding formulaic. The band were playing with boundless enthusiasm, made clear multiple times by Piet’s sweat-shining forehead, and even the minor errors were turned into amusing tangents. Case in point, Piet announced the wrong song in a setlist (“Titans Of Our Time” instead of “I’ve Been To Hell”), resulting in Jan getting the setlist and poring over it to make sure. There was also a bottle of vodka brought onstage by one of the staff members who distributed it around, and then later when Piet went to look for a new battery for his wireless amp connector, Jan reliably informed us “he’s gone to look for the bottle of vodka”.

Something that also took Piet by surprise was the crowd response during the singalong sections of “Break The Curse” and “Heavy Metal Never Dies”. Despite there being no more than 150 people there, the roar that greeted him after a couple of rounds of shouting the title provoked an incredulous reaction from him. However, the band had a surprise of their own after playing an ‘encore’ where they didn’t leave the stage (they’d informed us as such prior to that). After closing with “Atlantis Falling”, which is in itself quite an old track, they answered the audience’s cries of “we want more!”. At this point, I wasn’t aware of their love of Judas Priest, so when the opening riff of “Breaking The Law” kicked in, I along with the rest of the crowd was ecstatic. To top the evening off, Piet and Thomas stayed around afterwards exchanging handshakes, signing autographs and taking photos, the former in particular being besieged rockstar-style. The cry of “Heavy metal заебись!” is still saved on my phone, spoken by Piet with encouragement from some cool Russian metalheads I met while there.*

Regrettably none of the St. Petersburg videos have emerged, so instead check out a video of “Atlantis Falling” from the Moscow date. Searching on YouTube will also bring other tracks they played!

Intro (The Arrival)
The Savior
Battering Ram
Condition Red
Break the Curse
Mind Over Matter
Hall of the Heroes
R.U. Ready
I’ve Been to Hell
Titans of Our Time
Heavy Metal Never Dies
Coming Home
Iron Savior / Watcher in the Sky
Atlantis Falling
Breaking the Law (Judas Priest cover)

*No, I will not translate the phrase in public 😉

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