Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Iron Kingdom: Gates of Eternity (2013)

I covered an Iron Kingdom album earlier in the year when I was throwing together a bunch of albums into one post.  That album was the band's 2011 debut and I noted that the musicianship was impressive and the band was clearly influenced by Iron Maiden, but I was having problems enjoying it much because of the vocalist's high-pitched voice that was grating on the ears.  This album was released just last year and I guess we will see if they reined in the vocalist or not.

With the first song it is very clear that Iron Maiden is still the principle influence.  It starts off with a galloping riff and a melodic guitar lead.  The vocalist comes in and it is still obvious that he is attempting his best Bruce Dickinson, but he just does not have quite the range.  It sounds a lot closer to Cirith Ungol's Tim Baker than Dickinson, which would not be bad, but he is clearly trying very hard to be Dickinson.

Besides the more obvious aspects that show the Maiden influence, there is also the bassist.  Maiden's Steve Harris is one of the more dynamic bassists in all of metal, alongside Geezer Butler and others.  So it is only natural that a bass player who wants to get noticed would emulate that style.

Most of the songs on this are quite long.  There are a couple of seque tracks that are shorter, but otherwise every single song on here is longer than five minutes in length.  Which would be okay if that band was consistently interesting.  Unfortunately that is not always the case.  The band tends to slow things down at times and drag for long periods of time.  At moments like that, the album seems interminable.  I get that the idea is to combine their Maiden influence with early doom metal bands like Trouble, Cirith Ungol, and the like, but it just does not really translate well on the recording.

The musicianship on this release is still very impressive.  Unfortunately musicianship is not everything if the band in question can not write interesting music.  There are some good ideas here but they just do not really work out.  The vocalist is a little more bearable this time around though, so maybe there is still time for Iron Kingdom.

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