Iron Void – Excalibur Review

Band: Iron Void
Album: Excalibur
Label: Shadow Kingdom
Genre: Doom Metal
Country: England
Release Date: October 26th, 2018

I’d like to call this Epic Doom, but probably Power Doom is better, because man, this is really just Power Metal slowed down and detuned and crunchified. Fantasy lyrics? Check. Concept record? Check. Galloping songs (albeit sometimes in slow-motion)? Check. Soaring vocals? Sorta check. For Doom, they’re pretty soaring. The best comparison I can think of is to Dio-era Sabbath, where the riffs were a bit brighter and the lyrical content drifted into the Fantasy realm. Now, singers Jonathan “Sealey” Seale (bass & vocals) and Steve Wilson (guitars & vocals) don’t even come close to Dio-singing territory, but they give off that vibe, mixing it with some prime Pentagram. And they top all that off with excellent playing, as well as the thudding, marching drums of Richard Maw. The boys in Iron Void have created a delicious album.

Formed in 1998 by Seale and Andy Whittaker, the band was pretty much old school doom in the vein of Sabbath and Pentagram. They broke up and reformed in 2008, sporting their current lineup. It’s safe to say these guys aren’t newbies to the scene or the genre. In fact, they’re veterans who, hopefully, will start getting some of their due with the release of the excellent Excalibur.

So what do we have here? Well, lots of riffs, lots of fuzz, wrapped in the story of King Arthur. Every song is epic in its own way, none less than four minutes long. There’s lots of movement, plenty of ups and down and light and shade. Some songs do that Doom drag for a bit before sliding into a riffing, more uptempo run (“A Dream to Some, a Nightmare to Others”) and all feature some tasteful solos and interesting passages. This thing stinks of the 70’s, but in a good way. There are no flared collars and disco dancing here, but there are tons of riffs and shaking speaker cabinets.

Opener “Dragon’s Breath” is a hard track to overcome because it’s so excellent that the rest of the album almost pales in comparison. We get a clip from I think the movie Excalibur and then we slip into some madrigal acoustic guitar and then that riff just scorches the landscape. It’s hard not to sit and stare at the album art while listening to this song. It’s all right there, man, everything; the emotion, the power, the depth, and the sweep. It chugs along, building steam and momentum, until it finally ascends the mountain and that blessed chorus drops likes a gift from the Gods.

Get this, though: the rest of the record is really good, too. In fact, it rewards repeated listens, as little nuances show their pretty faces the more times you give the record a spin. This is one of those rare albums that is instantly pleasing on first listen, but is also a grower. You’ll be rewarded for your return trips to Camelot.

There’s not much more to say. If you’re into Doom, if you’re into Epic Metal, you’ve found one of your favorite new releases of the last few years. If you’re not into these things, what the hell is wrong with you? Give these guys a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Rating: 8/10

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

Total Playing Time: 46:13

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