IRONSWORD have always been an interesting band. Though their music endeavors have been quite simplistic their stubborn commitment towards the raw heavy epic sound has earned them a place among the elite underground bands that rose from the ashes of the 80’s sound, during the previous -00s- decade.
I have been following the band since the very beginning and sometimes I feel difficult to accept the fact that Tann left MOONSPELL (a very popular Death / Gothic Metal band back in the 90s) to emulate the least popular sound of the 80’s. You see in our strange days to follow your heart and the music you love is not every musician’s actual and first choice, I guess you are getting the point right? But IRONSWORD raised their axes and followed the path… And they actually got their dedication to Metal and their inspired songwriting, things more than enough to keep them marching on.
“Servants of Steel” is the bands latest effort, five years after “None but the Brave”. And while the band doesn’t stray of their usual sound, the albums seems to be a step forward. No IRONSWORD have not become progressive, neither they have added female vocals or keys to their music. Instead they have let the MANILLA ROAD influences that have massively appeared in their previous albums to dominate their sound.
Don’t get me wrong, IRONSOWRD, have always had an attraction towards the Wichita heroes, however these influences had been carefully balanced alongside OMEN, CIRITH UNGOL, EXCITER, RAZOR etc. Yet since “None but the Brave” the band seems to have thought “fuck it lets become totally Manilla Roadized”.
It seems that everything concerning the album is made to remind us of MANILLA ROAD: From the cover art (yes, ok, IRONSWORD have always had similar artworks), to the puristic approach on the Robert Howard inspired lyrics and of course the vibe on the overall music: Small, fast, simplistic, rhythmic songs with catchy choruses and a very raw (barbaric) sound approaching. Even the darker or more obscure parts on the album are still carrying this MANILLA touch. The vocals shift from harsh to more clean. Speaking about those clean vocals I got to point that in such vocal moments Tann’s voice sounds almost identical to Mark Shelton’s voice. No this is not some kind of strange magic: It is simply Tann’s love and dedication and of the countless hours that he have spent on MANILLA ROAD music. For sure he is a Roadster for life and a proud disciple of Shark… But there is also another person who participates on the record delivering some amazing vocals as well: Another eternal Roadster, fully dedicated to the MANILLA spirit and vision: Bryan “Hellroadie” Patrick who sings in “Rogues in the House” and “Red Nails” tracks.
The verdict? To be sincere, I had a blast listening to the album. Most of the songs are catchy and probably they would sound great live. Yet I do believe that IRONSWORD should have followed the path that they took in “Overlords of Chaos” in which they had developed a more original style. Yet I have the feeling that they don’t really care, they just do their thing. Therefore until next time tread carefully in the coils of Set.
Read the discussion about the album on our forum pages.
Some more IRONSWORD air play on our radio show: