irontongueIRON TONGUE – ‘The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown’
The controversy over just how hard Little Rock can actually rock has officially been settled.  The debut album from Arkansas natives Iron Tongue, out on Neurot, is a sledgehammer of pure soulful hard southern rock and roll straight to the gut.  Tales of desperation and loss are told by stormy vocals and wicked bluesy riffs that never fail to drive the story home.  The ironically titled opener ‘Ever After,’ starts us off with a twisted ballad inspired by the chains of love and lies.  Gospel sounding backing vocals add a ghostly element to the slow build before the song fleshes out into a wailing classic blues rock solo on par with the greatest of the greats.  From then on, the guns come out and the album takes off.  You start to hear more modern metal elements filter in, heightening the quasi-apocalyptic quality of the sound that these guys have honed so well.  Every song is like the last surge of adrenaline through your blood as you drop off a craggy cliff into a deep abyss.  Take ‘Lioness’, a welcome return to more retro stylistics with the bluesy bass riffs chugging slowly along while the backing vocals set a dark and groovy mood.  There’s a charming unsteadiness to the vocals, reminiscent of early Ozzy, but somehow, the raging growl of Chris Terry manages to power over any notion of subtlety and forces the song back into shady territory.  They’re like sinister chameleons in the way they shift back and forth from modern metal wailing, into gloomy retro blues-driven hard rock.  For that, they’re both genre blasting and extremely niche, but well worth a listen.  (8)



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