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Ironsword - Servants Of Steel

Servants Of Steel
by Rachel Montgomery at 18 February 2020, 3:34 PM

IRONSWORD is releasing their fifth full-length album, “Servants of Steel”, full of the same gritty heaviness fans have come to expect. The brainchild of ex-MOONSPELL member J.A. who changed his name to Tann, IRONSWORD is still a blend of Traditional Metal with the grittier, gothic, Nu Metal sounds that MOONSPELL embodied, and as a fan of the aforementioned Portuguese metal juggernaut, I was excited to give this album a listen.

The album begins with howling wind and a militaristic guitar riff. The choir is epic, featuring choral-style vocals and a crashing snare. The song is wonderful at introducing the viking, sword-and-sorcery feel of the entire album. The narration at the end reminds me of an older OZZY OSBOURNE song and thus, I’m here for the rest of the album, except I found it to be hit-and-miss. While the opening track was promising, the rest of the album became monotonous quickly. The album’s songs can each be broken up thusly: galloping riffs, and echoing vocals that are a little too far back on production. While the songs were epic with solid musicianship, they all began to sound the same after a while.

There were a few standouts on the album, including “Tower Of The Elephant”. It’s a slower song on the album and the guitar solo begins with a captivating, piercing guitar. The melody throughout is engaging and epic. “Gods Of The North” also featured a nice change in the riff in the intro, plus some of the best vocals on the album. I especially enjoyed the choir elements. The distribution in sweeps gives the song a unique, frosty flavor. However, due to the distortion, I had a hard time picking out the quality of the technique.

Son Of Crom” is also unique because it uses a different vocal style, more akin to New Wave of British Heavy Metal than most of the tracks. The gallops are also harsher in this song than on the rest of the album. The slow harmonies and open narration also give the song a more theatrical flair. “Keeper of the Crypt” has a different vocal style altogether, where it melds Traditional, Doom and Viking Metal elements. I especially appreciated the variety in the middle of the song, with a slowdown and an echoing vocal refrain, and a climbing sweep in the solo.

Other than these bright spots, though, I found the rest of the album to sound the same. Keeping the same style throughout is one thing but employing a similar riff style and mid-tempo to fast songs on the entire album gets boring. If you like harder, grittier Viking metal, though, select songs may be for you, but I’d still recommend putting this album in a mix rather than listening to the whole thing in one sitting.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Hyborian Scrolls
2. Rogues In The House
3. Upon The Throne
4. Tower Of The Elephant
5. In The Coils Of Set
6. Red Nails
7. Gods Of The North
8. Son Of Crom
9. Keepers Of The Crypt
10. Black Colossus
11. Isle Of The Damned
12. Servants Of Steel
Tann - Guitars, Vocals
João Monteiro – Drums
Jorge Martins - Bass
Record Label: Alma Mater Records


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