Band: Iron Man
Album: The Passage
Turn up the reverb and let the riff do the talking. That last sentence definitely applies to the band, Iron Man.
This Maryland doom metal group does not get fancy by trying to baffle listeners with progressive technicality, but instead sticks to the classic Black Sabbath blue print. Originally released back in 1994, “The Passage,” will be getting re-issued on vinyl through Shadow Kingdom Records on July 8th. Before this album was sent to me for review, I knew of Iron Man, but never actually listened to one of their albums. Thankfully Shadow Kingdom is getting the word out by re-issuing this album, and giving people like myself a chance to discover solid classic sounding doom metal.
“The Passage,” is an enormous ball of pure fiery doom metal that sounds similar to releases put out by such doom groups as Pentagram, Witchfinder General, Trouble and The Obsessed. Guitarist Al Morris really knows how to throw down some monstrous hard hitting riffs. The instrumental song, “Tony Stark,” is full of great bone crushing riffs and passionate leads. When Al plays a riff, the other musicians follow him down this dark highway of thunderous earth shaking distortion. Compared to some doom metal musicians who can’t seem to wrap up their guitar parts, Al knows when to appropriately finish so the listener does not walk away feeling bored.
Also to note, the songwriting not this album fits perfectly with the instrumental compositions. There are some haunting tracks that sound just as powerful as the guitar tone. During the opening song, “The Fury,” the music quickly descends without warning to deliver a cautionary tale of unholy mass destruction. The main riff presents this aggressive snarling sound that is followed up by singer Dan Michalak’s chilling vocals. I really dig the crushing seventies hard rock rhythms and the album’s second song, “Unjust Reform,” is like taking a time machine back to the days of early Black Sabbath. The galloping rhythm towards the end is not exactly technical, yet the overall sound is insanely heavy.
Track number four, “Harvest of Earth,” puts the mind into a psychedelic trance of galactic exploding proportions. As the guitar tears away into a ripping solo, I can picture the earth breaking apart into a chaotic mess. Iron Man’s sound maintains a certain level consistency and awakens the mind with its crushing doom metal tone. My favorite song on this album, “Freedom Fighters,” is a killer thought provoking jam. The drummer pounds his kit with tremendous force to match Al’s massive guitar tone. Dan’s narration is spot on and his vocals add some strength to the song’s overall theme.
“Waiting for Tomorrow,” is song that begins with a soothing acoustic guitar part to show how the band is capable of changing up their straight forward doom approach. The song is a subtle deviation and very refreshing to hear. The final track, “End of the World,” finishes the album off with a mighty message of more massive destruction. Iron Man sure enjoys singing about chilling tales of earth’s possible end, but then again, those types of themes make for great lyrics and even better riffs.
As I have always said, Black Sabbath started this type of music, so in the innovation department I would say Iron Man is nothing new to my ears. However, I deeply enjoy this style of music, and whether it be played by Sabbath or Iron Man, I am going to rocking out to it. Iron Man’s “The Passage” is an album that I recommend for all fans of good heavy riff based metal, particularly doom metal of course. This music doesn’t get old and I am glad to have discovered Iron Man now than never. Hopefully more people can find out about this awesome band now that Shadow Kingdom is going to be re-issuing the album on vinyl.