Album Title: Ironwood
This is the first demo from Ironwood, an Australia band playing pagan-themed progressive metal.
The sound on this demo is reasonably clear, with special emphasis on the crisp drums. I also like the bass sound; it's a lot more audible than most bands of this style tend to go for. The guitar sound is nicely heavy, and the vocals (mostly done in clean/proclaimed style, with a bit of black metal snarling) sound good. Floaty synth and occasional samples (rain, wolves, birds, etc) add a bit of atmosphere. Unfortunately, the production gets a little crowded when all of the instruments are playing at once, making it hard to hear some of the details.
Ironwood's debut combines blasting Northern-style black metal with progressive song structures and melodic guitar. I hear lots of old Genesis style prog influence here, especially in the frequent time & mood changes and acoustic guitar work. On "Yggr", the transitions between styles are a bit rough, but "Song of the Danes" is quite convincing, in a "what if Tony Banks were a guitar player" sort of way. I could have done without the middle section of this song, but the last two minutes more than make up for it, with ambitious vocal work and some great, heavy riffs! "The Tree" succeeds on the strengths of the vocals and acoustic guitar, and makes a nice buffer between the two metal tracks.
This is a fine first demo, one that displays a good deal of variety. Some of the transitions are too abrupt, and the demo is too heavy on the acoustic/vocal sections for my taste, but a bit of work on balancing and blending the different styles should certainly pay off for Ironwood. Recommended, especially for fans of complex pagan bands like Bifrost, Hades, and Cruachan.
Standout Tracks: "Song of the Danes"