Tuesday 22 May 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Iron Void, "Excalibur"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/05/2018 (Digital)
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records

"Excalibur" is going to win over a lot of classic doom fanatics. Iron Void should be on the radar of the scene for a revivalism that it owns wholly and proudly.

“Excalibur” CS//CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Dragon’s Breath
2). The Coming of a King
3). Lancelot of the Lake
4). Forbidden Love
5). Enemy Within
6). The Grail Quest
7). A Dream to Some, A Nightmare to Others
8). The Death of Arthur
9). Avalon

The Review:

Veteran doom peddlers Iron Void have had plenty of fits and starts over their career. After forming in 1998, the band disbanded for a decade before roaring back with a vengeance, dropping 2010's "Spell of Ruin," 2014's "Iron Void" and "Doomsday" in 2015. Now at their creative peak, Shadow Kingdom Records will issue the European vinyl of "Excalibur," Iron Void's Arthurian themed nine-song release tracking at just over 45 minutes.

Vinyl has been the financial shot in the arm to the music industry that few ever expected to make the comeback it has. Partially such success can be credited to bands like Iron Void. "Excalibur" offers rich, earthy sonics that seem made for wax. As the LP kicks off with "Dragon's Breath," Iron Void is inescapably catchy as it is dense. The band is also deceptively elegant in how its songs are constructed; the Sabbathesque "The Coming of A King" boasts a holistic duty to the story it's telling, while not breaking the power of the song itself, its guitar or rhythm section. Thus, lyrics inject themselves into just the right points, while not interfering with the structure of the cut. You hear similar instances on "Forbidden Love" as well.

Those who love fantasy in metal are going to appreciate the story immensely. Without spoiling anything, just know that Iron Void set out and succeed at telling an effecting tale. The vocals throughout are quintessential doom and even transcendent at turns. As the album builds, it is impossible not to be swept up in how massive the sound comes across.

In addition, what doom and sludge devotees may most appreciate with "Excalibur" is its fidelity to providing a new varnish to classic doom in the vein of Saint Vitus, Pentagram and the like. As you know, there's been a major renaissance in the old-school sound of black metal and death metal, hastened surely by the number of derivative bands in more modern takes on these subgenres. Doom, stoner and sludge undoubtedly have these bands as well – The Sword may have been the most popular and prescient of the revamp – and Iron Void stakes its flag admirably. Even songs like "Enemy Within," with clear influences from "Electric Funeral," feel rejuvenated and original. Iron Void deserve a lot of credit for having the courage to make an album that is inevitably going to draw tons of comparisons, yet doing so in a way that feels like a modern makeover of doom metal. Steve Wilson's riffs are heavy, Iron Void's lyrical themes are solidly mystical and medieval, and its ultra-thick drums by Richard Maw and bass by Jonathan "Sealey" Seale compose a ridiculously good foundation for it all.

"Excalibur" is going to win over a lot of classic doom fanatics. Iron Void should be on the radar of the scene for a revivalism that it owns wholly and proudly.

“Excalibur” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook