Rating:
8.0
Ironwood - :Fire:Water:Ash:
28 January 2009


01. Önd Ascending
02. The Oncoming Storm
03. The Raven Song
04. Jarnvidr Gallows
05. The Serpent Seeks Its Tail
06. Tide Of Memory
07. Love In Death
08. River Of Fire
09. Eihwaz Descending


When I first put this disc; Ironwood's debut album ":Fire:Water:Ash:" on to play I immediately drew correlation with Borknagar's Origin album. In the case of those guys I expected Black/Viking Metal but received soft acoustic material. In the case of Ironwood I was promised a kind of Folk/Progressive Metal blend but was given similar acoustic music. Once the second track "The Oncoming Storm" came around though I figured I'd be treated to a little more variation. It came forward with heavier electric riffs playing a kind of "jiggy" tune with the same booming vocals. The surprises don't end there though! Ironwood has more to offer.

The Oncoming Storm hadn't even finished before slowing down to some more acoustic work. As well as that it also launches into a kind of Folk/Black Metal style, complete with harmonised harsh rasps. These more extreme moments don't appear all that frequently on :Fire:Water:Ash: but they sound great. Having faster music and these drawn out cries is a good effect. Let me just say too, they're miles better than the whispered "pained" shrieks I heard a couple of times on the album. Those sometimes gurgled outputs can wreck the aura a bit I think. The track The Oncoming Storm is a pretty good representation of what can be expected on this album though; soothing acoustic sections (often with harmonised vocals), some kind of "Neofolk"/Progressive Metal and Black Metal. Just like their forefathers in Agalloch, Ironwood is pretty hard to classify.

Overall the music of Ironwood contains songs to relax to. I could envision most people easily being able to lay down with their eyes closed listening to :Fire:Water:Ash:. Especially songs like "Love In Death" which has soothing sections, a delightful solo passage and then a blend of the previous acoustics with the Folk/Progressive sound and various vocal styles. This song I find brings everything together and is a kind of epitome of everything heard so far. All throughout the dark atmospheres add that extra layer contributing to the heathenistic aura which can be easily immersed in.

Coming in at over an hour and ten minutes and with so many softer acoustic passages, :Fire:Water:Ash: won't quite be for everyone. Some will lose patience with it but if you have the time I'd suggest giving this interesting blend of the soft, the mid-ground and the extreme a go. If there was such a thing as "Heathen Metal" I'd say it would be along the lines of Ironwood.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 7


 


written by Raiden | 21.05.2009



Comments

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BestMetalstormer - 21.05.2009 at 09:07  
Very intriguing and attractive stuff after reading the review, I ll check this one.
GT - 21.05.2009 at 13:29  
Sounds interesting...even though losing patients (last section) isn't a good thing!
quirin - 21.05.2009 at 16:16  
We'll see... From here, my only certainty is I wouldn't buy it for the artwork (which is a fucking disgrace, to say the least).
Raiden - 26.05.2009 at 03:51  
Written by GT on 21.05.2009 at 13:29

Sounds interesting...even though losing patients (last section) isn't a good thing!

Haha well it's mostly for people who don't like interludes and acoustic pieces interrupting their metal!

Written by quirin on 21.05.2009 at 16:16

We'll see... From here, my only certainty is I wouldn't buy it for the artwork (which is a fucking disgrace, to say the least).

Looking at the digipak CD case it's not so bad. Better than the 150x150 pixel image you see above.
GT - 31.05.2009 at 15:51  
Written by Raiden on 26.05.2009 at 03:51

Written by GT on 21.05.2009 at 13:29

Sounds interesting...even though losing patients (last section) isn't a good thing!

Haha well it's mostly for people who don't like interludes and acoustic pieces interrupting their metal!

Yeah I got that part...my point was: wasn't it surposed to be patience instead of patients?
Raiden - 01.06.2009 at 03:22  
Written by GT on 31.05.2009 at 15:51

Written by Raiden on 26.05.2009 at 03:51

Written by GT on 21.05.2009 at 13:29

Sounds interesting...even though losing patients (last section) isn't a good thing!

Haha well it's mostly for people who don't like interludes and acoustic pieces interrupting their metal!

Yeah I got that part...my point was: wasn't it surposed to be patience instead of patients?

Oh right haha I thought that somehow looked wrong
Derwood - 14.06.2009 at 06:48  
This is a very creative, very interesting album. It certainly isn't going to be to everyone's taste, and I'm not entirely sure it's actually metal, but whatever it is, I like it a lot. It took me a few listens to really appreciate it; definitely one of those albums best listened to in its entirety, preferably with headphones.
Jiri - 26.04.2010 at 07:39  
I liked it. A tad boring at times, but great singing by the vocalists.

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