|Review: Ironsword - Ironsword|
Label: The Miskatonic Foundation
Year released: 2002
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: July 30, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Man, what I went through to get this one. Nobody, I mean no-body has this one. Even Sentinel Steel didn't have it, and Denis is the true-metal mack daddy. Fortunately I was finally able to secure this CD through the label (Good ol' Miskatonic) and I have to say it was definitely worth the trouble.
Quality true metal releases (at least of the old-school type I favor) are few and far between, so this is like a breath of cool air. Ironsword are apparently a side project of singer/axeman Tann, who is from some death metal band called Decayed. But there's no death or black here, this is old-fashioned true metal of the Manilla Road/ Omen school. Chunky, fist-pumping riffs over a double-bass rumble and the gruff Lee Dorrian/Tom Warrior vocals of the Tann man make an album that's a feast for the fan of underground real metal. Pretty much all the songs here are cool, but "Under the Flag of Rome", "Into the Arena" and "Ancient Sword of the Dead" stand out as especially strong with killer riffs and catchy choruses to get the head banging. The production is not great, sounding a bit muffled, and the drums have an artificial sound but the guitar tone is great, and as this is really all about the guitars all other sins can be overlooked. Tracks 8-10 were recorded waaaaay back in 1998, and do not sound quite as good, but the songwriting holds up fine. Tann's vocals may be a sticking point for some, as he's not what you could call 'good'. When he's gruffing along he sounds fine, but when he draws out a note or tries to actually sing as he does on the older tracks it's pretty bad. I have to say he fits the music well though, and even at his worst he has a kind of charm.
The packaging isn't bad, with a pretty cool cover and the lyrics included in the booklet. They're OK, but nothing groundbreaking, and there's obviously a language barrier problem at work here.
I love this CD, and it's flaws just make me love it more. For fans of old-time metal like Cauldron Born or Manilla Road this is an essential album. I have heard rumors of a follow-up, and I have to say I would be right up front to get that, because this CD is just my thing. If you want it, e-mail Miskatonic at email@example.com for details on how to order. I normally don't plug, but Miskatonic is a cool label with some cool bands, and trying to find this CD elsewhere will just piss you off. Put this one in the CD player, pop "Conan" in the TV and kick back with a meadhorn. Hail the Metal Gods!
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Interview with Tann (Guitars/vocals) on May 4, 2004 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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