Iron Void - Doomsday - (8/10)
Published on September 30, 2015
The cover art may not be as striking as that of last year’s eponymous full-length debut, with the band scuttling the full frontal nudity that adorned said album in favour of something altogether more doomish – a medieval church flanked by headstones with the night sky lit up by the Northern Lights. It all seems to indicate the band hailing from the forgotten town of Huddersfield taking their brand of vintage doom down more trippy and arcane vistas, though any such speculation is righteously quashed as soon as the title track starts laying down the law as it shuffles about with the gait of a ten ton gorilla. Lumbering, frills-free and only slightly groovy at best, it leaves little doubt as to when the band’s collective musical clock stopped—somewhere between Black Sabbath and Master of Reality.
It’s on the following slew of tracks that they really start hitting for the fence, however, as the riffs get thicker, the grooves get groovier and the overall pace is kicked up a few notches. Rather than counteracting the fundamental doom quotient, the swaggering vocal harmonies of “Path to Self Destruction,” the almost uplifting melodies of “The Devil’s Daughter” and the downright speedy punchiness of “Gates of Hell” actually serve to complement it quite well. There seems to be a concerted effort to fuse the trudging ground ‘n’ pound of vintage doom with the melodic and rhythmic dynamic of early NWOBM , with the galloping thrust and sprightly melodies of a song like “King of Utopia” channelling Maiden’s “The Trooper” in all the right ways. Doomsday remains a doom album at heart, though, so these sojourns into upbeat territory get evened out by some unabashed Saint Vitus worship on “Upon the Mountain” (a track so ancient-sounding that dust started billowing forth from the speakers) and a bevy of humongous grooves on “Eye for an Eye,” a track custom built to pulverise bones and buildings with maximum capacity.
Compared to last year’s self-titled, Doomsday is an altogether more varied and heavy-hitting album. Sure, they may have sacrificed some of said album’s archaic atmosphere for a choppier set of riffs and tempos that often veer quite far from standard doom parameters, but there’s nary a dud song in sight and the whole thing flows in just the right way (despite it’s somewhat hefty 58 minute length). Most importantly, there’s a tangible sense of energy that courses through the album and it’s clear that these lads had a blast creating this album. They may not have reinvented the wheel here but the engine that keeps it rolling sure has been beefed up by a significant margin, ensuring that Doomsday is guaranteed to be a hell of a ride for fans of Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and the like.