Man schrieb das Jahr 1985 als die Hamburger Speed/Thrash-Legende Iron Angel ihr Debütalbum »Hellish Crossfire« vom Stapel ließ. Bereits im Vorjahr hatten sich die Jungspunde mit drei großartigen Demos einen Namen gemacht und wurden von den großen Metalgazetten schon zu Deutschlands vielversprechendsten Nachwuchsbands gezählt.
Ihr Debüt »Hellish Crossfire« wurde mit der entsprechenden Portion Enthusiasmus aufgenommen, woran sich auch Sänger Dirk Schröder noch gut erinnern kann: »Die Fans und auch die Presse waren voll des Lobes. Es war halt für eine Newcomer-Band wie uns schon geil, auf Anhieb 26.000 Scheiben allein in Deutschland zu verkaufen!« »Hellish Crossfire« wurde in Berlin bei und mit Horst Müller aufgenommen, der sich unter anderem als Produzent von Kultklassikern wie Running Wilds »Gates to Purgatory«, Kreators »Endless Pain« und Celtic Frosts »Morbid Tales« hervorgetan hat.
Schubladendenken war nie das Ding von Iron Angel, und mit ihrem Debüt offerierten sie eine gelungene Mischung aus Speed und Heavy Metal, die ihr ganz eigenes Revier absteckte: Zwischen Running Wild, Accept und Grave Digger auf der einen und Artillery und Destruction auf der anderen Seite.
Außerdem darf man Dirk Schröders Stimme nicht vergessen, die zu den besonderen Markenzeichen dieses starken, verheißungsvollen Debüts zählt. Dieses Album hat eine kleine Hinterhofband aus Hamburg auf eine Bühne mit King Diamond katapultiert. Hört es euch an!
The legend of German Speed-Metal 1980. NWOBHM echoes could be heard throughout the whole world and bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Def Leppard and Judas Priest made England the Heavy Metal Mecca. But not only in the UK Metal was becoming a youth phenomenon. At the same time, five young German boys got together to play the same kind of music their english heroes played. They didn't take themselves very seriously and just wanded to play their mix of Kiss, Motörhead and Judas Priest in schools around their hometown. Their band was called Metal Gods, a clear hommage to Judas Priest. Later the band was renamed into IRON ANGEL...
At that time, there weren't many German Hard Rock / Heavy Metal acts. Scorpions, featuring the Schenker brothers, had some success with their melodic rock and Accept followed a more traditional english style, with Udo Dirkschneider's unusual vocals as a trademark. However, there was a brand new underground scene willing to breakthrough and show the world a new style, heavier but still influenced by all those classic bands. Everywhere in the world, new bands started popping up, each one adding a new feature to Heavy Metal. Some of these (such as the swedish Bathory and the swiss Hellhammer) followed the steps of the english Venom, a band that became a reference regarding extreme and Satanic metal. Soon, new bands that differed a lot fom the english sound and look started arising in Germany. Running Wild and their unusual lyrics, Avenger, who would soon become Rage, and the ultra fast and melodic Helloween were some of those new German bands. All of them had something in common, and they were pretty different from the traditional english bands, so the term Power Metal started being used to describe their sound.
Unfortunately, WINDS OF WAR was heavily criticized upon its release. However, anyone listening to the album nowadays can see how inappropriate this criticism was. It's a lesson in metal and shows a natural progression to the sound portrayed on HELLISH CROSSFIRE, having tracks like METALSTORM, STRONGER THAN STEEL and SEA OF FLAMES as outstanding highlights. However, the changes in both the band's sound and lyrics made the members start having different opinions about the band's future. Some wanted to keep the HELLISH CROSSFIRE sound, while the others intended to change even more, adopting a more Glam / Hard Rock oriented style, so that they could reach the American market. Due to these huge differences, the band broke up shortly after the release of the second album.
After the band's break up, each member followed their own path. Some continued playing with other unknown local bands, while others retired completely from the musical scene. Drummer Mike Matthes and vocalist Dirk Schroeder even got some recognition playing in Jurgen Blackmore's band Superstition / J. R. Blackmore Group, whitch featured Ritchie Blackmore's (DEEP PURPLE) son. After almost 15 years away from the scene, the band got together and started recording a new album, to be called THE REBIRTH, in 2000. Unfortunately, Peter Wittke died in a car accident, putting off these plans. After this, in 2004 the band released two live-albums with old liverecordings from a german tour with King Diamond, called THE TAPES, and a limited (BLACK) edition album, called RUSH OF POWER. IRON ANGEL could have become a heavy metal legend, but unfortunately they didn't get the recognition they deserved, becoming a cult band as the years passed.