Iron Tongue // The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown
Rating: 3.5/5.0 — And The Geezers Have Fist-pumped.
Label: Neurot Recordings
Websites: Facebook.com/Irontongue | Myspace.com/irontongueband
Release Date: Out now!
It’s unusual to see a Southern metal band opting for comic-style album artwork, one typically expects to see John Baizley’s surreal, exotic and naked-women-filled art gracing the cover. However, the music on this album is anything but comical; this Arkansas sextet means (retro) business.
Grumpy geezers who have been following heavy metal since the time when Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were considered the newest controversial bands in town will definitely dig this album. While it starts off sludgy and is mostly hurling sludge at listeners throughout the rest of the album, The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown (please consider a shorter name for your next album guys) picks up the pace a little on the two tracks, “Moon Unit” and “Said ‘n’ Done”; one hears more classic rock than foozy-doozy sludge in ‘em. For the dope-smokin’ young-lings craving for more mind-numbing sludge, consider cranking some Neurosis instead. But perhaps you guys should be considering going into rehab as your highest priority in life at the moment. And no, I don’t mean the rehab center for Candy Crush addicts you fools. I mean the rehab center for drug addicts. See? Dope bad! Bad for brains! [Happy Metal Guy’s views do not represent the opinions of all members of the AMG staff — Steel Druhm].
Now, Happy Metal Guy has to confess that he does not usually enjoy sludge metal. But he happened to be down with a brief bout of flu while listening to this album, and he realized that the drowsiness caused by the medication he took complements the plodding pace of the hallucinogenic music. Somehow, being in a woozy state seems to get one into the mood for sludge metal. But of course, it’s not just any sludge metal; the drowsiness seemed to go really well with Iron Tongue’s brand of sludge metal probably because it is not just slow (‘cos any band can be slow), but infused with a classic-rock kind of musical sensibility as well.
There are plenty of those moments when the rhythm guitar is playing a short and memorable riff repeatedly for a certain length of time while the lead guitar is concurrently squealing away in guitar-solo-style. Also, it’s all about the motherfekkin’ RIFF, as the banal metal-review description would go, with capitalization included to supposedly express overwhelming excitement through pixel patterns on a computer screen.
The bass guitar deserves mention too, because it has a wonderfully subtle yet audible presence in the audio mix. It fulfills the vital role of providing harmony while, at the same time, managing to make its musical line stand out at times with brief and catchy bluesy motifs.
Last but not least, vocalist Chris ‘CT’ Terry sings well and evokes vivid and appropriate imagery befitting the band’s cultural and environmental identities. Terry, who is also known as the vocalist and front-man of another Arkansas sludge metal band, Rwake (pronounced “wake”), uses a tenor voice—almost bordering on alto—with a rough edge to it to belt out heartfelt clean singing throughout the album. Upon hearing it, one almost feels like he or she is spending a lazy afternoon sleeping with a straw hat shielding one’s eyes from the blazing Sun at the South American countryside. And speaking of vocals, the soft cooing heard in the background of the introduction of opening track “Ever After”, which is shortly followed by Terry’s forlorn clean singing, is one of the most memorable moments of the album.
The dogs may have barked, the birds may have flown, and the geezers may have fist-pumped [Was that a dig at me, you whipper-snapper bastard! — Steel Druhm the Aged]. But the dark horse has only just started trotting, and it looks like it will build up enough momentum to break out into a gallop in the near future.