There are quite a few things to love about England. The history and tales of the middle ages, the unexpected moments of Premier League, the fact the country served as a heavy metal powerhouse during the 80’s and, of course, being the birthplace of some of the greatest doom metal bands of recent decades. Given all these, IRON VOID could consider themselves more than fortunate to have their roots grown and flourished on that part of the earth.
Formed about twenty years ago as a quintet, the trio (in its current form) inked a deal with Shadow Kingdom Records to release their third full-length album, simply called “Excalibur”. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the band’s music, all you need to know is this: traditional doom metal. And now, please bear with me.
I believe it’s unnecessary to get into the “influences/resemblance to other bands” part of the review as everyone knows what traditional doom is all about, so let’s get to the point: with “Excalibur” the band seems to have taken a different path compared to their previous works, “Iron Void” (2014) and “Doomsday” (2015). Their sound is less gloomy, thus brighter, and the songwriting has shifted towards a proto-heavy approach. Conceptually, the album is inspired by the Arthurian legend of Excalibur, the so called “Sword in the Stone”, something that also reflects a tiny bit on the music in the album, as there are some folk influences here and there. Finally, for the most part, songs don’t get past the 5-minute mark when it comes to duration, making “Excalibur” the album with the sortest songs in the history of the band until now.
Can’t say I was blown away by this release, but I can’t say it was a bad one either, so I’m standing somewhere in the middle. There were a few notable moments in the album for me – “The Grail Quest”, “Forbidden Love” and “The Death of Arthur” – and IRON VOID seem to be consistent in delivering what they initially set to do: play doom metal in its purest form. Purists will definitely love this one.