Ironwood // Storm Over Sea
Rating: 3.5/5.0 —A very cool record.
Label: Self-Released? (I’m not sure…)
Release Dates: Out Now Worldwide (Download Available for Free on the Website)
Well, now that the top 10 is posted and all of that is out there, I’ve received a record that I had no idea even existed and that is super cool. Of course. I said I was nervous about missing cool December releases and now I have been galvanized. I just thought I’d point that out. But I will not deny you the joy of a review of some very cool new music from this Australian progressive outfit by the name of Ironwood (not to be confused with the pornographic comic that I discovered while searching the Googles for the band’s website). This is the band’s third release and second full-length and it is available for your perusal at the band’s website.
But hell, why listen to it yourself when you can read my poetic rendition of why this record is something you should listen to for yourself! So let’s get to that then.
Ironwood is best called a progressive band. At their very fundamental base, they are a band like any other band that mixes their influences of extreme metal into other styles, who are doing something that narrows them into a small (if ever-expanding) genre. Storm Over Sea, therefore, is a very enjoyable record to listen to because of these stylistic considerations. But unlike other bands who have mixed in death metal or expanded their doom roots, Ironwood largely draws on folk metal and blackened folk metal. What’s cool, then, is how they blend these together into what I would call a unique blend of prog and folk.
This record has a lot of clean vocals and I fear that’s where individuals will get hung up. The vocals of whoever is doing them primarily are definitely a bit of an acquired taste. He’s not bad per se, but they’re not metal vocals really. They belong far more on the Yes side of the spectrum (with maybe a touch of power metal). They can seem a bit over-stated or exaggerated at times and a bit amateurish at other times (specifically with harmonies and background vocals later on in the record), but over all they work for what the band is trying to accomplish and they help give a unique flavor to the music, which is important for all bands when it comes to vocals.
That said, however, the music is what draws me in on this record. There’s great material here which goes between black metal, technical death metal and folk metal as well as prog. Clocking in at 55 minutes, and with three 11+ minute tracks Storm Over Sea never gets boring. Particularly the epics, “Infinite Sea,” “Weather the Storm” and “A Bond to Sever”, are well constructed tracks loaded to the teeth with interesting movements that bring the listener back to this record time and time again. If you’re a fan of folk metal and progressive metal I’d given this thing a chance. I can’t guarantee that you’ll love it, but I can tell you that it’s worth a shot. With all the various influences and epic composition, it’s hard to imagine that fans of these genres wouldn’t love it.