Wednesday 19 June 2013

Iron Tongue - The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown (Album Review)


Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : Out Now
Label : Neurot Recordings

1.                   Ever After
2.                   Witchery
3.                   Skeleton
4.                   Moon Unit
5.                   Lioness
6.                   Seven Days
7.                   Said 'n' Done
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time.
” - Bill Q. Shakespeare
The Iron Tongue of Little Rock, on the other hand, hath told about 4:53 a.m. Fairy time’s come and gone, and spurned lovers toss and turn and sweat out the sleepless night’s chemical indulgences in lonely beds all over town. They’re not singing of magical moonlit escapades. These are songs of pain, regret and motherfucking heartache that recall everything from the proto-metal stomp of Blue Cheer and Grand Funk to the darkest hours of Kiss, Deep Purple, Buddy Guy and Skynyrd. The band formed when a group of veteran players with diverse musical backgrounds found a common interest in the need to get down and dirty and way, way gone.
Iron Tongue has spent the last three years and change playing its soulful heavy-amp blues steadily around the South, touring the Midwest and East Coast with Memphis kindred spirits The Dirty Streets, and sharing bills with Black Tusk, Scott Kelly, The Sword, High on Fire, Crowbar and Lita Ford, as well as fellow Arkansans Pallbearer and The Body. Neurosis’s Steve Von Till called Iron Tongue’s debut “a solid slab of balls to the wall shameless rock, with a power and an edge and soul that rarely exists in music today.”
Line up:
CT: vocals
Stan James: drums
Mark Chiaro: lead gtr
Jason Tedford: gtrs
Andy Warr: bass
JR Top: keys
Stephanie Smittle: vocals
Iron Tongue is a hard and classic rock influenced act from Little Rock, Arkansas that features CT from Rwake on vocals. Their debut is called 'The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown', and it's being issued on the prestigious Neurot label (we love Neurosis around here, obviously). How can this be anything less than awesome?
Short answer = it can't.
The album is full of catchy hooks right outta the 70s rock playbook (think Sabbath, Zepp or Skynyrd), but twinned with those badass vocals. He's far more clean (well, as clean as he can be) here than he is during his day job, and it's really impressive just how soulful and badass his performance is. Full of balls and meaning and vitality. And some of the bluesy bar riffs that are peppered throughout are just delicious.
I have to single out 'Witchery' straight away. That riff has bad news written all over it, shaking it's hips in slow motion like a giant tease. The rolling skins are great too, real hard rock drumming just like Bonham used to bang out. Some hammond organ sneaks into the background and they get even more kudos. Because organ keys and hard rock go together like cold and beer.
'Moon Unit' really sounds deep fried and southern, all slow, smooth and winding like a big river. There are some magnificent guitar sounds all over this record, it's all your favourite classic bands rolled into one modern melting pot. If this song were a single radio station then you would never touch the dial. The transition into giant Sabbath riffs and loose bass is really subtle, you barely realise it until it's happened. Proper masterful song structure on display. If you cut this track in half then the word 'GROOVE' would be written across the middle.
'Said N Done' rounds out proceedings in rebellious fashion. Pounded into existence by a huge backbeat, it then layers on the raucous with some real heavy vibes. But then it crashes down into doom turf, and it moves back and forth like this a few times. Upbeat and party style, to low end worry. It's pretty cool and it throws you off balance. The doom parts only succeed in making the straight hard rock sequences seem that more uplifting and expressive. I can ramble on here and try to analyse it, but the long and short of it is that it fucking rocks. Plain and simple.
To compare Tongue to Rwake in any way would be misleading. That band crafts nightmare soundscapes of hill people doom (which I fucking adore), this band churns out classic rock anthems that will get you a speeding ticket (which I also adore). CT obviously has a huge range of influences and this output probably seeks to fulfil a really creative guy in an even more creative manner.
This album really is tremendous to listen to, a real barn burner in every sense. A great example of a golden time in heavy music, that has been brought forward to a modern time that is desperately in need of some soul and to let it's hair down. And let it down we shall. Go pick this up ASAP.

Words by : Matt Fitton

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available now. Thanks as always to Lauren @ Rarely Unable for the hook up.