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Iron Void - IV review


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Band: Iron Void
Album: IV
Release date: January 2023

01. Call Of The Void
02. Grave Dance
03. Living On The Earth
04. Pandora's Box
05. Blind Dead
06. She
07. Lords Of The Wasteland
08. Slave One
09. Last Rites

Omne, I hear you ask, do you think Schrödinger was banned from adopting cats?

Well, let me start by explaining that British doomsters Iron Void have slowly, but not silently, been building their way up the ranks, following on from their Arthurian-themed record from five years ago, Excalibur. The band return with their best work yet in IV, an album that highlights that the band may not quite be the finished product, but it is a strong step towards nailing down a sound that will be a boon to both the band and the audience.

Iron Void hark back to doom's roots and produce an album that indulges the listener in nostalgia and reverb. IV may not be the most original slab of music you will hear, but it compensates for this by keeping you entertained for much of the duration of the album. IV's strengths lie in the band's ability to produce a punchy groove that will enrapture listeners, ensnaring them with some six-string Iommi worship. Layered on top of this are the distorted vocals of Wilson, reaching through the haze of riffs and rhythms that the band serve up to engage those who push play. "Living On The Earth" has a charm to it that will lull you in, with a stomping mid-section that keeps you nodding along to the ebb and flow of the track, while "Pandora's Box" has a nice Sabbath-esque riff and rhythm. "Grave Dance" and "Lord Of The Wasteland" fit the same moulds as the former two, giving the album more ammunition under its belt.

As a power trio, Iron Void rely on locking in together and working as a unit to propel the song, save for the guitar solos. While this approach certainly has its drawbacks (spoiler alert), it is one that works well thanks to the chemistry between the members of the band. Naylor manages to balance power and rhythm well, propelling the songs along without breaking the groove the band develop.

IV excels when it sticks to being about the groove and Sabbath worship; when the band slow the tempo and try to be more atmospheric, the equilibrium is lost, and the music suffers as a result. "She" is the prize example of this, a track that tries to evoke an atmosphere that just doesn't materialise, leaving you either waiting until the song ends or cutting your losses early and hitting skip. "Blind Dead" is in a similar position, having a drone sound that is less hypnotic and more sleep-inducing.

The production on IV is a mixed bag, exacerbating the shortcomings and, while not particularly bad, doesn't enhance the strengths all that much. As "Last Rites" highlights, the mellower and lighter passages sound limp and wilt when placed next to the heavier parts, leaving you waiting before the song kicks back into gear rather than reveling in the atmospheric break.

The band don't reinvent the wheel, but are entertaining when they get things right, leaving you to enjoy the better moments. The problem Iron Void face is that the depth of the lows when they get things wrong is bigger than the highs when they get things right. This results in an album that is good at the best of times, but will bore you to sleep too often.

While IV has its shortcomings, it is hard not to find it entertaining when it gets into a groove and rides atop a heavy, pumping rhythm. Though the floor for the album is low, hopefully Iron Void focus on their strengths rather than weaknesses in future.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 6

Written on 25.02.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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