No, no...not a new album by this second band originated by Belgian Neo-Classic/ Symphonic guitarist-extraordinaire Dushan Petrossi, but merely a re-issue of the album originally released in 2005!
Petrossi had originally burst onto the Belgian scene with his first band Magic Kingdom in 1998, which released its debut album The Arrival a year later through legendary Belgian label Mausoleum. Strangely enough, the guitarist's next recorded material would be an Iron Mask album entitled Revenge Is Mine, issued through Lion Music in 2002. Inspiration for the work was found in the classic André Dumas book Man In The Iron Mask. Possibly, the gearing away from the fantasy themes that rules Magic Kingdom had prompted the guitarist to bring out the new work under a different name. Still, except for bassist Vassili Motchanov, Dussan used no other member of his other band for the project.
Well, at first it looked like Iron Mask was just a project, because next up, Dushan (flanked again by Motchanov), had found completely new members to record the 2004 Magic Kingdom album Metallic Tragedy (issued, this time, through Limb Music). That album featured the collaboration of German singer Oliver Hartmann (formerly of At Vance, meanwhile also popular from other collaborations and bands, and also from solo albums), and so when Dushan decided to work on a new Iron Mask album, he just hàd to have Hartmann adding vocals to a couple of songs again (on “The Invisible Empire”, “Crystal Tears”, and “Iced Wind Of The North”). That, along with Motchanov on the bass, would be the only “constants” at that moment, because the other musicians invited to contribute to the album [lead singer Goetz Mohre (of Arrow, Hanz Damf, and Rolf Munkes repute), keyboardist Richard Andersson (Majestic, Time Requiem, Space Odyssey, Karmakanic, Evil Masquerade and more) – and drummer Anton Arkhipov (Exhumator fame, and at that time also of Magic Kingdom) would again be completely new people. At any rate, the combination of Dushan's splattering guitar play and Andersson's finger-swift keyboard runs made for some of the most riveting an exciting guitar/ keyboard displays in the genre...all without losing a feel for overall catchy tunes! On top of that, the vocals were simply top-notch, and the rhythm section simply backed up everything perfectly. As a result, several of the songs will find a way into instant memory upon a first listening session, in spite of the nice intricacies underneath. That there was indeed a good synergy between everyone concerned in the project, was proven when everyone agreed to come back together for several shows on a European tour with Anvil and Phantom X in November of 2005. In fact, several of the shows were filmed, and in 2008 the band contributed to Anvil's documentary DVD Anvil! The Story Of Anvil.
As for the reasons of why Lion Music re-issues this album, we're left but with wild guesses...as both the ensuing Iron Mask albums (2008's Shadow Of The Red Baron and 2011's Black As Death) as well as Magic Kingdom's latest (2010's Symphony Of War) came out on different labels (respectively Avalon Online, AFM Records and Limb Music). There's also no bonus material to entice those music fans whom already bought the album the first time around, but, at any rate, Hordes Of The Brave is a perfect album for anyone into Malmsteen-like music, and just in case you hadn't come across Iron Mask before, here's a perfect record to go with until “that other” guitarist comes up with a new album again. I shouldn't rate this, because it's a re-issue of an album I've come to buy myself, and am therefore totally familiar with...but hey, here goes!