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Review: Ironsword - Return of the Warrior
Return of the Warrior

Label: The Miskatonic Foundation
Year released: 2004
Duration: 46:35
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: October 8, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Return of the Warrior

Rated 4.13/5 (82.67%) (30 Votes)

"Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Arius, there was an age undreamed…"

Boom! So begins the second CD for inveterate old-school metalhead Tann and his partners in crime, and they knocked this fucker right outta the park. The debut CD was hampered by bad production, but was still one of the albums I played most last year (and this year too). Still hardly a week goes by when I do not give it a spin. So I was majorly stoked for this release. Could this band capture the magic again? All I have to say is "Hell Yes!"

All you fans of clean, prissy, proggy Power Metal and commercialized pap like Dream Evil need to stop reading right now and go back to your cookie-cutter metal. This is not stuff you are ever going to hear on the radio anywhere – this is real fucking metal here. On their debut Ironsword invited some comparisons to Omen, but this one is plainly more influenced by the almighty Manilla Road. So if you don't like the 'Road, then go elsewhere, because this is very much a continuation of the faster, harsher sound of ooold MR a la stuff like "Crystal Logic" or "Mystification". (and I would so love to hear this band cover "The Children Of The Night")

So you will not hear any falsetto wailing or happy lyrics about loving nature, this is Manly Metal. Ironsword are even more obsessed with Robert E Howard than Cauldron Born were, and almost every tune here has a few Hyborian Age references. Ironsword have no gimmick, they just put good riffs together with good choruses to make great fucking songs. The production is fatter than last time, and the drums sound real instead of Casio. Tann's voice is even deeper, gruffer, and more macho than before – no one has ever sounded more barbaric. He sings clean here and there, and carries that off well too, in places he sounds so much like Mark Shelton I could swear it really is the Shark himself, especially on "Beginning Of The End" and "Chronicles Of Nemedia". There is not a single bad song on here, and not a one you won't be headbanging along to in no time. Two spins and I was singing whole tracks in my head while I drove to work – that is fucking catchy is what that is.

The CD case and booklet is waaayyyy better than last time, with a cool cover, full lyrics included, some pictures, and coolest of all: a map of the Hyborean Age on the inside of the J-card. Thumbs way up for that.

Ironsword have managed to stay with the style the forged on the first album, and yet still completely outdo themselves with an album that just spills over with killer fucking songs. This is the very definition of All Killer No Filler, and for oldschool mavens like me this is a complete feast. Barbaric vocals, iron-barbed riffs and smoking leadwork wedded to instantly memorable choruses and lyrics about war – Ironsword is best appreciated with a beer in one hand, an axe in the other, and the volume all the way up. This here is the True Metal album of the year. Email Rich Walker at and ask him how to get your copy. Go fool!

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