Iron Hearse – S/T   Leave a comment

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The self-titled release from the UK threesome Iron Hearse was originally released by Gallipoli Records in 2006, PsycheDOOMelic Records have since re-released the album and it deserves it as its a mighty album but with some little roughness around the edges and i will go into some detail later about that. Iron Hearse formed in 2001 and recorded 3 demo’s in two years before releasing their debut EP “Peddle The Metal” in 2005. Although known by most as a Doom band, they are much more in the vein of Stoner, groove rockers like The Obsessed and other bands in the Maryland tradition. They recently released a split album with Leather Nun and in May of this year released another EP titled “Lunar Funeral”. I am still awaiting my copy of the EP to arrive but i will review that disc also very soon but back this this self titled disc. Everything about this release is a little rough starting with the artwork which is a blurry picture of two skulls sitting in dirt, this cover image while effective enough looks a little dodgy and lets say cheap. The actual recording is very live sounding with a few noticeable mistakes but that somehow adds a bit of charm to the album.

From the opening track “Rocktopus”, you are blasted off into a endless supply of riffarama that is for the most part excellent and full of infectious grooves. “Rocktopus” is one of those gems that is unrelenting in dishing up tasty grooves and a bluesy old school Sabbathian jammy vibe. The Obsessed reference doesn’t end at just the music either, vocalist guitarist Grant Powel sounds very much like Wino Weinrich. Iron Hearse keep it pretty simple especially in songs like “All Graves Empty” which comes close to sounding like AC/DC with a very upbeat kind of groove. The band shines best however on the more groove based, more bluesy riff-fests like “Wrong Remains” which still comes off like a killer track despite a sloppy guitar solo at the end of the track. These little messy, slapped together sections of music do give the album a certain charm like having a group of drunk friends jamming in your living room.

“Black Tapestry” is a major highpoint with the band pushing the pedal to the metal with aggressive riffing and some smart guitar interplay. Its not till you get to track seven and a tune called “Chronovisor” where the album loses some of its shine. Its not that its bad but it does seem like the band did put all the best tracks in the first half of the album because the album does seem to lose some steam towards the end. Adding to that disappointment is the four live tracks which sound like they were played in front of shocked guests at someone’s wedding or funeral. The crowd and the atmosphere is basically dead but the meat and potatoes is the music and they do kick ass even in these raw live recordings. Highlight of these live recordings is “Winter Of Discontent” which features some great solo work from Grant Powell. Overall however, this is still a great album with more killer than filler and despite the mostly pointless live bonus tracks and some obvious playing flaws, this album still delivers the goods on most levels. I look forward to the newer releases, i have nothing major against this self-titled album but i can also hear they are capable of much better things. 7.5/10

Iron Hearse @ Myspace
PsycheDOOMelic Records

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Posted July 6, 2010 by doommantia in Iron Hearse

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