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Dungeon Masters

Dying Victims Productions (2012)
Rating: 4/10

Following a handful of EPs, Dungeon Masters is the debut full-length studio album from German headbangers Iron Kobra. It’s an 11-track opus wrapped in a cracking sleeve, but it’s an album that doesn’t live up to my expectations. The major downfalls of the album are the vocals, with the strangely named Sir Serpent and Lightning Lord Python sharing the duties.

‘Druid’s Call’ is enough to put anyone off, as vocally it’s amateurish, with an almost punky chorus that is only saved by the half-decent driving guitars. Judging by some of the photographs of the band I’m guessing this is a record to be taken with a pinch of salt, although there are times when the band has the ability – musically anyway – to knuckle down and rock pretty hard.

‘Metal Rebel’ and ‘Black Magic Spells’ are of note in regards to the musical structures, but again the pathetic vocal delivery really makes me question the entire affair. The unfortunately named Ringo Snake on drums does provide an ample backbeat, especially on the venomous ‘Heavy Metal Generation’, but the dire King Diamond-esque squeals are enough to make the ears bleed, and what the group lack in vocal ability they also manage to lack in lyrical content.

While Steel Panther may have found a niche with their hair metal parody, Iron Kobra are about as humorous as a fatal disease, which is a shame because it means their career will no doubt be limited, unless hordes of brainless fans fall for the gimmick and snap up this tired affair.

I hope at some point Iron Kobra realise that what they are doing is laughable, and in no way by being so cheesy are they helping the genre. Only on the trudge of ‘Ronin’ with its fantasy-styled lyrics do the band resemble a poor man’s metal band at best, but for the most part Dungeon Masters is a lame duck, made all the more futile by its terrible vocal whimper. Maybe the recruitment of a serious vocalist wouldn’t do the band any harm, but until then Iron Kobra are nothing more than masters of their own basement.

Neil Arnold

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