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Iron Man – Hail to the Riff

Iron Man
Hail to the Riff
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 17 April 2021, 9:36 AM

IRON MAN formed in 1988 in Maryland, in the USA. Originally starting out as a BLACK SABBATH cover band, IRON MAN went on to release five full-length albums over their career. As a tribute and monument to Al, Argonauta Records will release this memorable live moment by IRON MAN, titled "Hail to the Riff", as a limited 2LP edition featuring one previously unreleased studio song on March 5th 2021. Though not credited on the promo sheet, I am assuming the other three musicians listed here were on the stage that night with Al. “Hail to the Riff” contains fourteen tracks.

“Run From the Light” leads off the album. The crowd roars as the main riff enters, heavy and fuzzy. The vocals are semi-harsh, and the bass rumbles underneath. “Make some god damn noise” he yells before a scream. “The Worst and Longest Day” has some moving bass parts to go along with the fuzzy and super-low riff. The vocals are quiet as first, but develop into a roar eventually. His sinister laugh ushers in a guitar solo, with prolific doses of wah-wah. The solo is sloppy, but somehow it just works. “South of the Earth” is another slow lumbering track with audible bass guitars augmenting the vocal work of Al Morris III. Another blood-curdling scream crushes everything in sight. It comes to an end with him saying “you guys doing alright?”

“Grown” begins with some ominous speech…”Satan’s coming around the bend.” From there, it’s another slow song with Al’s signature snarl. It’s picks up a bit towards the end, finishing with a scream. “Hail to the Haze9. Sodden With Sin” opens with a bit of variation in the guitar work, but it’s still Doom to its core. As it lumbers forward, it carries with it all of the pain and worries you feel in your soul. “A Whore in Confession” is seven minutes in length, opening with a simple guitar riff. After a few bars of vocals, bass guitar takes over for a spell. A guitar solo goes on for what seems like days, followed by another scream. “On the Mountain” is a shorter and faster song, and almost sounds jovial at times…quite different than many of the other tracks.

“Fallen Angel” opens with some phaser or perhaps chorus effects in the main riff. Whatever it is, is sure sounds cool. The guitar solo oozes a sleazy sexiness that is quite catchy. He says some “thank you’s” and calls it a night. “Black Morning” is a bonus studio track. It begins with the steady pulse of guitars, building into a thick soup of Doom Metal. Though the crowd is removed from the song, it sounds very similar to the live sound on the other tracks. It paces forward like a giant wandering in the wastelands, and ends with calm, quiet vocals that fade to nothing.

Overall, what else can I say. It’s Doom Metal…meant for cold, rainy days. Sure, the basic blueprint is in the vein of BLACK SABBATH, but the legendary Al Morris III brings his own brand of energy to the album. There isn’t much in the way of variation here, and fourteen tracks are a long way to get through, but that’s the genre, and it’s an honest sound that Doom Metal fans will appreciate.

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

3 Star Rating

1. The Fury
2. Run From the Light
3. The Worst and Longest Day
4. Ruler of Ruin
5. South of the Earth
6. Grown
7. As the Gods Have Spoken
8. Hail to the Haze9. Sodden With Sin
10. A Whore in Confession
11. On the Mountain
12. Fallen Angel
13. Black Night
14. Black Morning
Al Morris III – Guitars
Louis Strachan – Bass
Dee Calhoun – Vocals
Jason "Mot" Waldmann – Drums
Record Label: Argonauta Records


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