Iron Altar – Pillars Of Blood (album)

Release date: 22nd September 2018 || Genre: Metal || Label: Self-released

This might be a “swing and a miss” situation, but I think there could well be a new East Scotland/Edinburgh metal sound emerging. It might not be on the same scale, but it makes think “Bay area thrash” or “Seattle grunge”. There’s something in a lot of recently formed bands – and new releases – from the area that ties together in a way that isn’t really at play elsewhere. Or, at least, not in so tangible a way. Bands such as Dog Tired, King Witch, and Runemaster each offer something unique, but all share a sort of penchant for old metal soaked in reverb, with powerful vocals. Iron Altar‘s album Pillars Of Blood is the latest to step into this particular arena.

As with those mentioned above, IA, without being slow, hold a casual ease with which to deliver the major part of their sound. No-one is rushing through things here. They are also one of the more ‘modern’ sounding bands who fit this theory. While there is a vague whiff of Lamb Of God, those who are familiar with Face Down and Above All might hear something more noticeable yet. It seems to be all about a similar tension. There are also a couple of moments where it looks like Burn My Eyes or From Mars To Sirius are about to step into centre-stage, but never get quite that brazen. Simple ideas are brought to well thought out songwriting, and, where necessary, a brief touch of the technical flavours the morass of thundering chug.

This album sounds huge, it has to be said. It has an absolutely killer atmosphere throughout, with very listenable production and energy. It would nice to hear them step out of their comfort zone a little more, though. Something to further define their already superlative character. More of a wish than a criticism, as this is some intense, skull-crushing metal!

Grade: A

Slow Dragon





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