Right. It’s time for another desi band to be reviewed. I’ll admit though, that this is a bad time to do it. My head is full to the brim with a throbbing headache, and im not sure I want to listen to a metal album. But I guess, duty calls. I didn’t know anything about Blood & Iron until a friend tipped me off. Well, I’ve listened to them now, and I think they are pretty good by all means.
This album (their second) has a really grandiose start with ‘A Promised Land’, with a fantastic sounding chant. And then it breaks into something reminiscent of a mixture of Manowar, Children of Bodom and Iron Maiden. This general feel continues pretty much all throughout the album. That might sound dull, but the band manages to keep it interesting right till the end. Not once did I think, “bloody hell, when will this end”?
There is evidently much effort given to an epic sounding feel. In that way, its quite successful, and- shock and awe- they successfully manage to avoid the extra thick layers of cheesiness that plague something like, say, Manowar. This is probably the best gothic/keyboard-y sounding Indian band I’ve come across. Speaking of keyboards, the keyboard player is EXCELLENT. Really memorable soloing and excellent use of patches and atmosphere, reminiscent of Janne Wirman and Richard Andersson. He fits the band very well. 5 stars, boss!
Guitar players are also very good, the dual attack is well executed, especially the coordinated runs. The singer again, has great range, though I think his voice is mixed too low, and the drums (especially) mixed a little high. Unfortunately, in this sonic torrent, Mr. Bass Player is lost, essentially providing a halo to the sound. Next album, though, I’m hoping to hear a bit more from the bassist of this highly capable sextet. Also the drumming is really good, with awesome double bass pedalling, though I wouldn’t say it always fits the groove the songs demand.
If they were in Scandinavia, they would be a popular band in those countries, playing music which sounds somewhat like erm….Viking Metal. It’s just a tag that I just invented. It’s sad to see how such good bands, which could really have been big in the Scandinavian scene (if they were there), are stuck here, where their music can’t be appreciated fully. Pity.
This isn’t try-once-and-then-throw music that I’ve heard from most Indian bands. This is worth downloading and listening to over and over again (though not necessarily in one sitting). My picks would be the first and last tracks, both of which are unique, not in the least because of their use of non-pentatonic scales, chants, and what not.
Flaws? A couple, I guess. The most major one is that the chord changes are familiar and don’t usually change from song to song. So using more unfamiliar chord changes would vastly alleviate the overall sound of the band. Further, a mix of influences that identifies the sound immediately as Blood & Iron is needed. Even so, as a step in the evolution of a good band, this sounds right.
– El Bajista
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