(Neurot Recordings, 2013)
#FOR FANS OF: Hard Rock, Stoner, Doom
The music of Iron Tongue is steeped in late 1960s/early 1970s nascent hard rock stylings (replete with classic rock organ), with a touch of doom metal and stoner rock tossed in for flavor. The two opening chords of the first song, “Ever After” is reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ “Angie”, albeit the singer is a second-rate soul shouter along the lines of a pitchy Dan McCaffrey (Nazareth). Later on, this track goes into a moody bluesy Led-Zeppelin styled “Since I’ve Been Loving You” solo section. There is a clear Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) influence in the style of the bassist on many tracks, whereas even the opening and closing of the track “Lioness” is somewhat reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s “Hand of Doom”, although the bass tone is more reminiscent of doom band “Sleep”. Unfortunately the lyrics are, at best sophomoric: “…she catches a fish/her claws are deep/in two inches”. Track 4, “Moon Unit” opens with a slide guitar, hinting at southern rock a la Molly Hatchet. Although the lead singer provides an impassioned performance throughout, the backup female voices should be brought to the fore in his stead. Unlike black or death metal, atonal (or pitchy) vocals don’t work in this fusion of classic rock and doom/stoner metal, where sticking to minor tonalities and tritone progressions are what ultimately give this music its flavor. So although the music is well-performed, well-produced and is very listenable overall, the vocalist unfortunately makes the experience rather anticlimactic, i.e., the expected catharsis (which is one of the great attractions of metal) never truly materializes. It’s almost as though he’s trying too hard to constantly emote in his vocal delivery. A contrast of a more sedate, moody, consistently on-pitch vocalist with this music may strengthen and unify this band’s material. This is the first release I’ve heard by Iron Tongue: I don’t know if they have a back catalogue, or if this is their first recording. Recommend that in future efforts they get a better lead vocalist, and include some more thoughtful (and poetic) lyrics, in order to bring what this reviewer perceives as their slightly underdeveloped musical vision to fruition. Overall, great potential, but falls short. San vocalist, and in the immediate future, Iron Tongue could be a top-notch instrumental fusion of doom/stoner metal with classic hard rock. If they can get the right vocalist/lyricist fronting the band, they could be a musical force to be reckoned with in the future.