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Old Ironsides: The Path to Madness

Old Ironsides' The Path to Madness is a great example of how you don't judge a book (or album) by its cover. Studying at the illustrated face of a man in shock (which inarguably resembles both a shot of Elijah Wood in the first The Lord of the Rings film and a famous shot of Linda Blair in The Exorcist), you might think that it represents blisteringly fast aggression and vocals that sound more like a garbage disposal than anything else. Luckily, looks can be deceiving, as the album is actually an extremely exciting and accessible punch of progressive hard rock (although more diversity wouldn't hurt).

A trio consisting of Seth Peterson (vocals), Alex Boccia (guitar), and Chris Miklasz (Bass), Old Ironsides formed in Chicago a few years ago. Their influences include Soundgarden, Queen, Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Deep Purple, and Blind Guardian, and their sound is a nice mixture of aggressive rock, prog metal, and punk. Judging by how consistently interesting and well-developed The Path to Madness is, it's clear that Old Ironsides' didn't rush into the studio to record; every arrangement is perfect.

Essentially, their sound takes the punk vibe and high pitched vocals of At the Drive-In (or the more streamlined songs by The Mars Volta) and mixes them with the riffs of Mastodon, the acoustic arpeggios of Opeth, and the angst of select No Doubt tracks (trust me, that last one makes sense if you listen closely). The end result is a fairly unique and enjoyable sound, with tracks like "Dancing in the Gobbler's Gulch," "The Hours of Everyday," and "All I Need" offering some spacey dynamics and engaging melodies amidst the musical crunchiness. As you might expect, there's also plenty of intriguing guitar timbres, intricate percussion and rhythms, and intense singing (Peterson still sounds like a novice, but that's part of the charm I suppose).

The album concludes with the "March to War" suite, which includes "Rise," "Fall," and "Redemption." It begins slowly with sound effects and feedback before exploding into a collage of double tracked guitars and thunderous commotion. The second part is a softer ballad with pleasant acoustic guitar arpeggios and a focus on melody, and the conclusion appropriately feels like a crescendo of all that precedent it before fading out with an acoustic epilogue. It's quite epic overall.

While the album isn't revolutionary by any means, it does feel finely tuned and ambitious. Old Ironsides has clearly worked hard on channeling its influences into a sound all its own, and it successfully creates its own identity as a result. The music might not differ sufficiently from track to track, but if you're looking for some fast paced, aggressive and progressive hard rock, look no further than The Path to Madness.

Track Listing
1. Breaking Loose 5:23
2. These Eyes 8:24
3. The Hours of Everyday 7:15
4. Prelude to Midnight 0:32
5. Dancing In Gobblers Gulch 4:28
6. Tomcat 6:06
7. The Path of Madness 5:12
8. All I Need 5:57
9. White Chapel Vigilante 4:17
10. The March to War: Rise 4:36
11. The March to War: Fall 2:07
12. The March to War: Redemption 5:31

Added: June 25th 2012
Reviewer: Jordan Blum
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1841
Language: english

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