The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Iron Thrones – Visions of Light
I have to thank this fine music blog for introducing me to this next band. I was only familiar with their name, nothing more. It wasn’t until news of their new album started populating the blog that I took notice and checked out their debut album, and boy am I glad I did…
Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Iron Thrones skillfully blend death and progressive metal by offering epic riffs, soft acoustic breaks, and an overall melodic atmosphere, that when combined, easily deliver a monstrous sound. Their debut release, Visions of Light, is such a beast of an album with both its musicianship and production, it’s hard to believe it’s not only their first album, but self-released by the band themselves. So much dedication and talent went into Visions of Light, that it’s evident right from the opening track, “Swell To the Surface”, which I might add, still gives me goosebumps when I listen to it. So much power, melody and emotion is brought forth by their instruments it’s mind blowing. This intro is everything Iron Thrones encompasses in their music, and they do a great job of setting up the tone for the rest of the album.
Upon listening to the Visions of Light, you get an idea of who some of their influences might be, having a similar sound to that of Opeth, Between the Buried and Me and post rock legends, Isis. But despite the comparisons, Iron Thrones still manage to make the sound their own. While not being the most varied release, it doesn’t get repetitive, and each track stands on it’s own with it’s own highlights and moments of brilliance. “The Dark Design” is just a relentless force of sound that further carries along the tone and feeling of this album.
“Heart of the Light” brings a lot to the table with it’s layered gallop of riffs and evocative solo work (2:48 to 3:14) which when blending smoothly into the next transition of chords, has my jaw dropping and my mind being blown. “Still Waters” is a mix of somber melody and energy, has an excellent acoustic section which leads to a climax that is simply phenomenal. “The Final Farewell” is where the biggest nod to Opeth comes in, with it’s amazing acoustics and classical solo arrangements.
The only other instrumental track on the album, “Wading”, is merely there to setup what is in my opinion the best song on Visions of Light, “Cover of Smoke”. This is 12 minutes of multi-layered, post rock awesomeness. The first half of the song is aggressive and melodic, while the middle features another acoustic break which slowly builds up and culminates to the emotional finale, leaving you with the roars of “This is ours alone, This is ours to hold” by vocalist Adam Clemens. Truly a devastating end to a beastly song. The closer “Shadows Revealed” is a bit of a let down after the brilliance of the previous track, but it’s still a solid track nonetheless.
There are really no flaws that I found with this album. The production is on a professional level and captures the essence of their sound. Every epic riff is heard, the acoustic pieces are handled with care, the vocals are powerful and the overall atmosphere of the album is well contained. The fact that this album was self-released and given away for free, shows that these dudes have an appreciation and love for creating and sharing their music, and that’s a big plus in my book.
Iron Thrones – “Swell To The Surface/The Dark Design”