Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Metal Briefs: Up the Irons!

Iron: The Original Black Metal

Briefs by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

Iron “is the most common element (by mass) forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. . . Iron metal has been used since ancient times.” Add the right amount of carbon, and iron “produces steel, which may be up to 1000 times harder than pure iron.” These “[s]teels and low carbon iron alloys … are by far the most common metals in industrial use, due to their great range of desirable properties and the abundance of iron.”*

So too is “Iron” the most common word in my iTunes metal library, a search of which results in six different artists, 39 different albums, and a whopping 420 songs. Certainly, iron has been employed “since ancient [metal] times” being wielded to all time heavy metal thunder perfection by Iommi and co way back in 1970 – “Iron Man” practically started it all.

And now, thanks to the FULL METAL ATTORNEY, I have three more Iron Bands: Iron Curtain, Iron Dogs, and Iron Kobra. Certainly these bands recognized that Iron is “by far the most common [of the] metals in [] use, due to their great range of desirable properties.” And we get some great, some desireable, and some that need work in this range of Iron metal products.

Let’s start with the great. Iron Curtain hail from Spain and play straight up heavy metal. There’s nothing new on "Road to Hell", and that’s the point. Releases like this live and die by how well they execute. How well they execute is usually a byproduct of how much they love what they are doing. Iron Curtain love what they are doing. They are doing it well. I will play “Taste My Whip”, “Scream & Shout”, “Black Fist” and “Marshall Law” over and over as much for their clever word play as for their memorable choruses and ripping solos. “Road to Hell” is the best produced of these three and Iron Curtain don’t waste that production with pointless intros or interludes. They were “Ready to Strike” and get to the point. A lesson many bands would do well to heed. 4 out of 5 stars.

Iron Dogs’ “Cold Bitch” sounds like it was “produced” in Oscar the grouch’s “steel” garbage can. The sound is a little hollow but this actually adds to the charm of this record. Again, it’s the execution as borne out by the love. As one would expect from a Canadian band named after an Exciter song, Iron Dogs sound like, well, Exciter. But with a better singer. Songs like the opener and “Dragon’s Curse” reach speed metal intensities and shred solos left and right. There’s a song named after my favorite Hammer film and I don’t know what Crom Cruach is, but I love the bass line and slide guitar intro – the song swaggers. But enough about the music. Let’s talk about what has drawn everyone to this review (besides my prose): the cover “art” work. It’s everything that’s right and wrong about heavy metal in one photo. Wolves, nudity, a sword, snow, blood, and a cape. It’s just awesome and awful all at once. I love it. And I love the record. 4 out of 5 stars.

In contrast, the cover for Iron Kobra’s “Dungeon Master” is just awful. In a bad way. As I compare the two covers I’m reminded of Nigel Tufnel’s quote in Spinal Tap discussing the rejected Taste the Glove cover: “There is a fine line between clever and stupid.” Dungeon Master fall on the stupid side by a mile. Iron Dogs have certainly objectified the sword wielding nude on their cover, but they’ve also empowered her. Here is one not to be trifled with. Contrast her with the helpless naked victims on “Dungeon Master” and their tortuous overlords, and you would be justified not to expect much by way of tunes. You’d be mostly right. It’s ok I guess. The hit a lot of the right spots, good riffage, a catchy chorus here and there, and some good solos. The problem is I don’t believe them. The execution is formulaic (including a bad spoken intro and two “metal” in song titles) but I don’t feel it. This is guys doing what they think will play well rather than guys playing what they love. Probably would ‘ve been three stars but I have to further deduct for the stupid cover: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

*From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron, accessed January 9, 2013.

Dying Victims


  1. Iron Curtain's cover looks like the program to a shitty musical.

    Or maybe a Scorpions album. It could go either way.

  2. I know, it's Scorpions retro new musical "Virgin Killer: Lovedrive of a Love at First Sting". Another band known for sexist album covers.

  3. Iron Curtain rock... How could they not rock seeing as they sound exactly like a Spanish Motorhead. This is not a bad thing. Lemmy, all praise to him, will not live forever.

    Iron Dogs, yep, the cover is a masterpiece.

    As for Iron Kobra, 'What's wrong with being sexy?'