IRON GRIFFIN – Curse of The Sky

IRON GRIFFIN – Curse of The Sky
Gates of Hell Records
Released Year:
1. Prelude2. Reign of Thunder3. Forgotten Steel4. Lost Legion5. Curse of the Sky6. Dawn of Struggle7. To the Path of Glory

I have something to say: I hate this “proto” thing. Not the actual music, but the term. It’s another stupid industry gimmick just to draw the attention of the listener, a newly created degradation by journalists – nowadays everyone is a journalist – in an effort to make 70’s rock bands more appealing to metal audiences. Or just a way to show off their “deep” understanding of the roots and aesthetics of metal music and maybe get themselves some retro chicks.

What has this to do with IRON GRIFFIN? A little, since IRON GRIFFIN are definitely metal, yet the word “proto” was used in the newsletter informing fans of their new album, so I took the liberty to whine a little bit. Anyway, IRON GRIFFIN is back and for anyone who’s unaware, IRON GRIFFIN is the side project of Oskar Razanez, drummer of MAUSOLEUM GATE, who – according to very same newsletter – spent his summer vacations working on the album in order to have it ready before the end of 2018. Kudos to Oskar for his sacrifice, but frankly it wasn’t necessary…

IRON GRIFFIN perform music in the style of old (really old) cult metal acts like PAGAN ALTAR, BLACK SABBATH, CLOVEN HOOF and ANGELWITCH. Their N.W.O.B.H.M. influences are quite evident both in their sound and songwriting. There are no modern touches to the album since Oskar tried very hard to re-create the analog, warm, organic sound of the early days. The songwriting is quite good actually, with lots of epic moments (Maija Tiljander‘s vocals tend to that) and there are some interesting songs, like the title track or “To The Path of Glory”, a seven-minute epic with a climactic ending. As I mentioned earlier Maija’s voice is very nice, it has a nostalgic feeling to it, it’s sentimental and powerful, and apparently is the highlight of this record.

Yet things are not ideal. Listening to this album was a weird experience as the overall production is bad, and I am talking really bad. The band, both in the EP and the full-length album, managed to come up with a sound that lacks depth, heaviness, and clarity, thus making it sound “empty”. The songs sound as if they are played from the bottom of a well. And should anyone say that this is “organic, natural sound” I’d answer that the calendar says 2019, not 1978. If the album was released back then it would be great, but since it got released in the modern ages, there are plenty of ways to achieve that sort of production without ending up sounding like a Greek demo from the 90’s. And somehow I’m suspecting that was done on purpose just to gain some attention from the retro-fetish fans.

I said it before and I will say it again: every band of the retro movement tries to imitate the legends and I am ok with that, but please do not imitate the bad aspects of the ’70s – ’80s. Stick to the inspiration, the passion and the constant need to move forward, not backwards.

To wrap this up, I think IRON GRIFFIN have already managed to become one of the hot uprising names of the scene along with LEGIONNAIRE and ROVERGUYS. Wish them the best, but I don’t think I will be listening again to this album anytime soon…

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