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HARDWARES

IRON MAN

South Of The Earth

(Rise Above Records)

Reviewed by : Greg Pratt
Rating : 8.5

Looking into my doom-y crystal ball, I see no great breakthroughs or accolades in IRON MAN's future, which is unfortunate but expected: the Maryland-based doom band has been at it since 1988 with little in the way of attention. Which is odd, and a shame, because every time I listen to them I just love it, mainly the always-on riff work of guitarist/mainman Al Morris III, who never fails to summon up the best of SABBATH and ST. VITUS, which he does constantly throughout their fifth album, the tunes often at a mid-to-speedy gallop, songs like 'IISOEO (The Day Of The Beast)' going damn near fast, but the band's true power coming through in slightly more paced doom/stoner odysseys such as the title track, which opens the disc with a huge bang; great tune. When they go slow, as on the clearly titled 'Half-Face/Thy Brother's Keeper (Dunwich Pt. 2)', it's just as powerful, the effect as huge as the new Sab disc, but not quite as oppressive and a bit more inviting of repeat listens. This is glorious and regal upbeat doom, and hopefully this debut for Rise Above (which is pushing 9.0 the more I listen to it) will finally get this long-underrated band the attention they deserve (plus, they've always got great song titles, like this disc's 'The Worst And Longest Day').



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