Mystic Water Records
Truth is, I didn’t know what to expect upon receiving the new album from IronWrath. I had been aware of their presence within the scene for quite some time but had really never heard much from them. Turns out that their debut release has been thirty years in the making. Much to my surprise this album did nothing less than astonish me upon first listen.
Although many years have passed where production value in the Christian metal industry has certainly increased, this album completely takes it to an entirely new level and it is easily matched with anything not just being offered within the Christian industry but in the entire music industry overall.
Master Storyteller is a well-crafted ingenious endeavor that is rooted in a cinematic universe. To hear the audible content is actually only one part of the equation as the visual representation which will undoubtedly be presented during their live events and through video concept will solidify IronWrath as one of the most intuitive bands of our generation. The visionary precedent led by award-winning producer, cinema photographer, graphic artist, and ultimately the drummer for this band, Mr. C.G. Ryche is a staggering gift of insurmountable treasure.
Beginning with the opening cut, aptly titled “One,” The talent of IronWrath evidenced by their insanely superior skill set is way above board. The musical prowess via the prog-like tendencies contained therein, give Master Storyteller a deeply profound sense of meaning, appealing to the listener’s emotional state of being while taking their intellectual acuity for a ride with thought-provoking lyrics to match.
Guitarist Sean Silas has a rich tone felt throughout the entirety of the album but especially noticeable on such standout tracks as the monstrous title track, “Masquerade,” and the epic “Legends Never Die.” Vocalist Anton Petrenko delivers an equally unforgettable performance that is complete with passion and conviction. An intensity that provides the listener with a window deep into the heart and soul of the band and their worldview which just happens to rest on the premise of a life dedicated to Jesus the Christ. Just glimpse the words of the no bones about it “Thy Shall Return,” and you’ll instantly understand the position of IronWrath and their mission. One surprise addition to Master Storyteller is the cover of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” Definitely a departure from the country flailing of the original, this version comes full force as a powerful ode to the Metal genre. I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring attention to the very set apart and acoustic-laden, “The Best Part of Me,” which features vocals by a guest vocalist who simply goes by the name Rudiger. Backing vocals are courtesy of Steve Bell and Jeffrey Brya of the band Survivor.
The album's closer “Death March” hits a very sensitive spot for me and I’m sure many, as the Jewish holocaust is quite possibly the single most evil atrocity to take place in our lifetime. This song while acting as a remembrance of the historical account also serves to show the hope that was sought and ultimately fulfilled. The last lines of the song sum this up most eloquently. “I can see the promised land, yea! Prophecies of God’s plan, yea! Given us, the Holy land, yea! He has not forgotten us!
While it is evident that the influences of IronWrath range from Pink Floyd to Marilyn Manson, Tool to Rob Zombie, their sound is genuinely distinct and their own, which is not an easy feat amid today’s cookie-cutter climate. Master Storyteller is an exceptional album from start to finish and most assuredly belongs in the collection of any true fan of heavy rock or metal. There are no fillers here mind you, and I cannot say enough good things about this record.