- Audio CD (30 Sept. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Metal Blade Records
- ASIN: B00EC6VJYO
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,552 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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South of the Earth
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South of the Earth
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm so glad I did, it is truly magnificent skull-thumping doom insanity. The riffs are immense, devastating montrous beasts and Screaming Dee's vocals are incredible; pure raw power. There is not a single weak song on this album, and in any sane world these guys would be massive.
If you like Doom Metal, you owe it to yourself to buy this, it really is incredible.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Iron Man, however, understands Sabbath better than any other band I've come across (with the possible exception of Witchfinder General). They understand Sabbath as a sum-of-its-parts kind of band: '70s Italian horror movie soundtracks, dark classical music, heavy blues rock, various kinds of folk music, progressive rock, and instrumentalists like the Shadows. To most people, Sabbath are "the Iron Man band," but to Iron Man and other enlightened persons, they're also "the Looking for Today band," "the Wheels of Confusion band," "the Symptom of the Universe band."
That's not to say that Iron Man are simply cloning Sabbath here. Instead, they study all aspects of Sabbath and apply to their own musical philosophy. This results in an album where groovy thrashers like the title track can coexist with the prog-inflected despair of "Thy Brother's Keeper," the psychedelic mind-journey of "Hail to the Haze," and the folky interlude of "Ariel Changed the Sky."
What really propels this release into the stratosphere of the benighted doom metal genre is the subtlety of Alfred Morris III's guitar playing and how well it links up with Louis Strachan's basslines. The riffs sound simple at first, but then you'll try and jam them out on your guitar and realize how much weird stuff is going on. Pretty much every riff has multiple interchangeable components that allow for minute but powerful motif changes. It's often hard to tell where the guitar riff ends and the bass noodling begins, which is exactly how the best of Black Sabbath sounded.
Thus, most of these songs feel very baroque. You could re-title them Doom Metal Variation No. [insert number here] in C# minor and no one with any real musical knowledge would complain too much. Each song starts off running through the variations, which occasionally map out to verse/chorus but really feel more like a ballad (in the folk music sense of that word, not the "lighter-in-the-air" tiresomeness of Def Leppard et al.) or a mediation on musical concepts. Because of this, when the change-ups do come, they feel like earth-shattering events. Even then, a lot of times, they re-touch on motifs from earlier in the song in new ways, such as when the backing male chorus of the latter stages of "Hail to the Haze" reimagines the melody from the wah-pedal soaked intro to the song.
Pretty much every Iron Man album is worthy of your listening to it, but I'd say that this one is tied for first in their discography with The Passage. Some of the other albums feel more like collections of great tunes than a full album, but this one and The Passage are both 100% no b.s.well-constructed folios where each song is memorable and perfect in and of itself as well as in the context of the album as a whole. In other words, this isn't just a bunch of great songs; it's great album. The vocals are similarly varied in texture and incredibly well-done, but they are rather unorthodox for doom metal might take a while for some to get used to. Persevere through your initial doubts, and you will find a worthy modern day classic that should fit right in between Iron Maiden and Isengard on your CD shelf.