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Review: Ironsword - In the Coils of Set
In the Coils of Set

Label: Alma Mater Records
Year released: 2019
Duration: 23:26
Tracks: 3
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: February 17, 2020
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
In the Coils of Set


This was the EP Ironsword put out last year as they were gearing up for the release of Servants of Steel. At first, I was not sure why they would release an EP so very close to the album release, but then I came to understand that this is essentially a tribute recording.

The first two tracks are the title cut—which also appears on Servants of Steel, though the recording sounds a bit weaker here—and a non-album track, "Disciples", which is pretty good, but not that great. Again, the recording job lacks the polish of the studio album, and I wonder why that is. "Disciples" sounds like a leftover cut from None but the Brave to me.

More than half the running time of this EP is taken up with the fifteen-minute track "Fallen Brothers", which is not what I expected it to be. I was wondering how Ironsword's pummeling steel-assault style would adapt to making a genuine epic, but it's not that at all. It took me a minute to realize that this song is a dead-on impression of eeaarrrly Manilla Road—like, Dreams of Eschaton Manilla Road. Obviously intended as a tribute to Mark Shelton, this features Tann digging into his most Shark-like vocal style and a composition that is almost nothing like Ironsword's other stuff. This is straight-up an homage to songs like "Triumverate", "Venusian Sea", and most of all "The Court of Avalon" off Manilla Road's long-unreleased could-have-been second album.

It's an interesting choice, and while it trips the nostalgia pretty hard, Tann is just not the guitar player Mark was, so the song goes on a long time, but without the innovative, soulful playing that always marked Manilla Road from their earliest days. That said, musically and lyrically it is a moving tribute, and once I heard it, I understood why they recorded it, and also why they could not have put it on an album like Servants of Steel, and had to make this EP as a space for it.

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Review: Ironsword (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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Review: Return of the Warrior (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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Interview with Tann (Guitars/vocals) on May 4, 2004 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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