Thursday, September 14, 2017

Old Iron – Lupus Metallorum

On this album, Old Iron have created a realm that, in all honesty, I hope I never see. The overall atmosphere of the songs is one of doom and dread, and when you read the lyrics, it seems to be a place where something lurks around every corner, and its never anything good. I don't know if they were going for the creation of a nightmare world, or if the songs are a metaphor for life in these United States in the year 2017, but damn.

Which is not to say for even one second that this is not a terrific batch of songs, because they are. In fact, this entire package is gorgeous, if troubling. The titular lupus is rendered in a beautiful piece of art on the album cover, in all of its nightmarish glory. Its a very stunning piece of art. The vinyl itself is kind of a swampy green splatter that perfectly matches the colors in the artwork. The music, though, is what really takes your breath away.

This is a band that is hard to describe. Many times we reviewers like to fall back on the old “recommended if you like” phrase, but I honestly can't think of another band to which I can compare them. Old Iron are definitely doing their own thing. On their Facebook page they describe what they do as “heavy, low tuned, melodic music”, which might seem a little contradictory until you hear it. If I had to describe it, I would say that the base element is sludgy doom, that is at times epically heavy, but they add their own twists and turns and touches to the mix. It is a very unique sound and I bet that hearing these guys live is akin to standing in the middle of a head on collision.

Several songs illustrate the different things this band can do. “Maelstrom of the Black Tempest” almost feels like a black metal song, and pulls you right into the storm. When I read that song title, I get an image in my head, and the song sounds exactly like what I expected. The title track brings the nightmare wolf to life and you can almost see him ranging in wild and looking for his prey. This is music that will leave you feeling bruised, and just when you feel as though you can't take any more, “Nightmare Tooth” comes along like a tire iron to the ribs to seal the deal. I wish I could describe in a better way how heavy this music is, how it batters and crushes the listener, yet leaves you wanting to experience the process all over again. I know an album is good when, as soon as it ends, I want to flip the record over and drop the needle again immediately. This one does that.

Old Iron have crafted a release that is almost cinematic, especially if you follow along with the lyrics while the music is playing very loudly. That is a big key with this release. I didn't want to have it on in the background, I wanted to be immersed in it and give it my undivided attention. You would be well served to do the same. Just keep the lights on while you listen.


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