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 be considered fortunate to have their roots flourished on this part of the planet.
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.
It’s unnecessary to get into the “influences/resemblance to other bands” part of the review as everyone knows what traditional doom metal 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). There’s less gloominess in the air and the sound is brighter, while the songwriting has shifted towards a proto-heavy/NWOBHM approach that relies more on sharp riffs than monolithic Sabbath-esque guitar themes.
Conceptually, the album is inspired by the Arthurian legend of Excalibur, the so called “Sword in the Stone”, something that also reflects on the music a tiny bit, as there are some folk influences here and there and some songs have an “epic” touch (eg. Lancelot of the Lake). Finally, for the most part, songs don’t get past the 5-minute mark, making “Excalibur” the album with the sortest songs in the history of the band to this day.
There’s nothing groundbreaking in this release in terms of music innovation, but I can’t say this is a bad thing. There were some notable moments throughout the album – “The Grail Quest”, “Forbidden Love”, “The Death of Arthur” and “Avalon” – and IRON VOID seem to be consistent in what they initially set to do: deliver doom metal in its purest form. Doom metal purists will definitely love this one.