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Ironstone – Prophecy Award winner

by Rachel Montgomery at 01 July 2020, 11:46 AM

If anyone is feeling nostalgic for the 2000s yet, IRONSTONE is a good band to check out. With electronic riffs and ambiance, the band captures the essence of 2000s emo and bottles it into vocal melodies that dial back the nasal vocals of yesteryear for something more palatable. From Bendigo, Australia, they formed in 2017 as a progressive metal band. Their sound is clear and if you’re a fan of heavier emo songs from the 2000s, this is a good band to check out. Even if you’re not, the band does away with the trappings of the genre like heavier nasally vocals and overly emotional lyrics, streamlining it into something that defies a label.

Better Unseen” is an intense opening with machine gun drum rolls and relentless, gritty guitars thrown at you. The vocals are smooth with a touch of nasal that reminds me of 2000s fare. The way the chorus soars and the screamo effects at the end take me back there, too. “Bound” winds up back into low-tone electronic guitar notes. The refrain softens into electronic stillness before a crescendo into a cosmic melody, culminating in shrieks again. Then, the guitar solo is clear and showcases the guitarist’s musicianship well. The sweeps are well-placed, ending before expected though. The song employs some subtle harmonies at the end between vocal styles. “Downpour” is one of the more standout songs on the album. It has an experimental opening with some thunder ambiance that caught my attention. The twang in the guitar is new and sets the song apart from the last two tracks. The lower vocals reminded me of BREAKING BENJAMIN at first: clearer, less nasally, and with some more weight. The soaring melody is also a good touch; it compliments the lyrical hook. I’m not sure if the guttural uttering of “here comes the downpour” was necessary before the solo. I think it takes away from the instrumentals following it. To be fair, I can see it being screamed from the stage at a concert.

Hollow” gives the listener a little bit of anticipation leading up to its heavy opening. I like the way the opening notes spin around themselves only to give way to a slower, restrained verse with stops peppered in for effect. The chorus explodes in screams and belted vocals. At the end, the instrumentals and screams finish the song in a way fitting for emotive music. “Killed A Man” has a futuristic opening that gets punctured by low, distorted guitars in a unique harmony. The vocal melody is hit or miss for me, as it’s the same old go-between from clearer singing to guttural screaming. It’s a good penultimate song, as it feels like it’s leading up to a finish but doesn’t feel right as a closer. “Origin”, on the other hand, has a distinct outro feel with a slightly orchestral opening before being hit with assaulting guitars.

Overall, the album takes a lot of cues from 2000s alt rock, specifically emo and screamo. It’s a genre that gets a lot of flak, but for fans of old-school emo and screamo like AFI, TAKING BACK SUNDAY or HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS, even more obscure acts like FINCH would enjoy this band.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 10
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Better Unseen
2. Bound
3. Downpour
4. Hollow
5. Killed A Man
6. Origin
Dan Charlton - Lead Vocals
Edward Warren - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Aidan Kalms - Guitar, Keyboards
Oliver Hosking - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Jackson Whyte - Drums, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 12 August 2020

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