Iron Thrones – Visions of Light

Iron Thrones // Visions of Light (2008, with official re-release on November 21, 2009)
Rating: 5.0/5.0 — Perfect
Label: Unsigned
Website: Pay what you want at!

Album cover of Iron Thrones - Vision of Light

It’s maybe just me that falls for this kind of stuff, but sometimes bands just jump out of nowhere and bite you in the ass and present to you their own version of exactly what it is you appreciate in the music that surrounds you. In this case, what it is in the underground scene that still appeals to you even though you’re getting old, bitter and disconnected from a lot of the modern bands that people are pissing themselves over. Iron Thrones are just that band; that band that makes you jealous as a musician, that makes you excited about the future of metal and makes you totally, ridiculously confused as to why on earth they’re unsigned!

This is easily the best unsigned record I’ve ever heard in my entire life, and giving some of the mediocrity that’s been working its way out of other labels, I’m just really surprised that this band hasn’t gotten picked up yet. At their root I’d probably call Iron Thrones metalcore, but that wouldn’t do them justice. While their vocalist is definitely a hardcore vocalist (in the veins of Burst, and Cult of Luna), the music is just so much more advanced and interesting than anything I’ve really heard coming out of the metalcore scene (well, maybe that’s not entirely true if you consider a band like Dillinger’s Escape Plan or Between the Buried and Me to be metalcore bands).

So get to it already, jackass!” you’re saying. I can hear you. Know that I don’t like it. Anyway, so basically the thing with these guys is that they’re immensely excellent song-writers. The music sounds to me like an incredibly excellent blend of Opeth style riffing and some acoustics with Cult of Luna feel and vocals, while incorporating much of the Gothenburg Swedish metal style into some occasionally break-downy hardcore. The sound goes between some pretty heavy sounding death parts, to the 6/8 swing of acoustic parts and heavier parts with beautiful harmonies. The vocals are never misplaced, and the parts flow smoothly in between them with perfect segues. Sound complicated? Well, if you’re having trouble imagining it, it’s probably because you’ve never heard anything quite like it before. However, the mix of excellent groove, technical passages and good guitar work is blended together into fairly long, but not at all boring songs, which ebb and flow until the album is over and leaves you wishing it was still going.

A promotional photo of Iron Thrones from November of 2008

Would somebody sign these guys already!? They’re living on somebody’s porch, and they’re getting uncomfortable…

I was also impressed with the production on this, especially since these guys are unsigned. I gotta say, it definitely helped to listen to a record that sounded professional from the get-go even though the band doesn’t have a real label and, well, if I were an A&R guy, I’d be jumping at this band. In essence, I can’t imagine that I will not be hearing more about this band unless they fall to the fate of other excellent bands who left before their time—the badly timed breakup. If these guys can pull off what they do so superbly on this album live, I’d suspect they’re a shoe-in at a good label. And hopefully they’ll go on tour with In Mourning and Opeth. That would be totally fucking sweet.

I wouldn’t be angry at all. For at least like, three hours or something.

As a final note, there is also a psychological idea that implies if something is free that it somehow has less value to the person who is consuming it. I know that seems weird, but it’s true. We tend to value things that cost us more, because, well, they cost us a ton. This album is totally free, and trust me, it doesn’t lower the quality at all. It doesn’t change the fact that I know I will still be listening to this album in 10 years, and hopefully informing everyone how I was “so into these guys before they were cool.” What it DOES do is make you want to contribute to the cause. Which I totally suggest you do. There are physical copies of the CD available as well as it being available on iTunes. Go take a listen to it, download the whole thing and if you like it, send the guys $5 (I’ll bet £5 or €5 would make them happier ’cause it’s worth more than the dollar right now). They’re being totally forward thinking releasing their record for free, and I gotta say I really respect them for doing that. Especially since the album is so fantastic.

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