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Iron Knights: Iron Knights

Right, before we start we need to clear up exactly who Iron Knights are, or indeed, who they're not. The roots of this act can be traced back to a group claiming to be vampires (they weren't) by the name of Stuka Squadron, who bit necks, spat blood and dressed as though they'd been invited to an S&M-Rob Halford fancy dress party, while being kitted out from a charity shop. They convincingly hammered out Iron Maiden (all eras) inspired Metal across the album Tales Of The Ost, before a fracturing in the blood thirsty ranks led to a name change to Iron Knights and a similarly styled and equally interesting album New Sound Of War. So that's this band then? Well........ Iron Knights must have slippery fingers, for further fracturing appeared with the departure of all of the original members of Stuka leaving drummer Larry Paterson (Blaze Bayley) and bassist Paul Robbie to recruit new members in the shape of guitarist, vocalist Jamie Gibson and guitarist Wayne Mann to record their third....possibly second....well maybe their debut (are you keeping up? I'm not....) self titled album, which sounds very little like what has (or maybe hasn't) come before.

All joshing aside, when you replace two guitarists and a vocalist in a band, then you'd be surprised if the results bore a striking resemblance to any previous sounds a band made and really the question has to be, why keep the band name at all? Well, that's a question for the band, although possibly drummer Larry Paterson's "other job" as a military historian might explain it and to be fair it hasn't exactly hampered Heaven's Basement, has it?

Musically Iron Knights are a more brutal beast than the Maidenisms some might be expecting, a mix of The Almighty and American Metal in the vein of say, latter day Flotsam & Jetsam or Black era Metallica. That in itself is a good starting point and it has to be said that Gibson and Mann combine with bristling effect across the whole album, grinding out riffs of huge proportions and firing out solos that sear and burn. The likes of "Cry For Help" is a mid paced stomp crammed with character, while "Blind" plays the same card but at twice the speed, being all the better for it. Add to that the poignant build of "Jacob's Ladder", a song which on its own shows how far from fake blood and cheap theatrics Iron Knights now are and the almost Voodoo Six on steroids of "Transparent" and success should be assured. However truth be told three aspects hold this album back from being a completely convincing listen. Gibson's vocals are at times a weak point, his rasping anger lacking depth and power, while his production also leaves certain areas of this album a little lifeless. However the main sticking point is that even after giving this album numerous listens, none of it sticks in the mind, implores you come back for more, or gives you the impression that Iron Knights stand out from the crowd.

The CD version of this album comes with three interesting bonus tracks, the current line-up handling "Bloodstorm", "The Messenger" and "Jericho" from the previous Iron Knights album, which illustrate how far removed the two versions of this band are, while also possibly muddying the water between them further. While I have to mention the superbly designed digi-pack the whole thing arrives in, the eye catching and distinctive black on white, with mere touches of blood red artwork allowing drummer, historian, writer (and about to be film maker) Larry Paterson to show yet another string to his impressive bow. Hopefully album number two (or three?) from Iron Knights will be equally distinctive.

Track Listing
1. Transparent
2. Falling From Grace
3. Vicious Circle
4. A Chapter's Lesion
5. Genocide
6. Cry For Help
7. Blind
8. Jacob's Ladder
9. Bloodstorm
10. The Messenger
11. Jericho

Added: June 29th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Iron Knights online
Hits: 1508
Language: english

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