Saturday, 30 March 2013

Iron Hearse - Get In The Hearse (album review)

Cover artwork by By Man Came Death Designs
From the same English county that brought you Stonehenge comes a new legend.  It's a three headed, twelve limbed monster that rolls on four wheels.  It is a vessel to carry and transport the dead and it plays rock n roll.  Ladies and gentlemen behold, the Iron Hearse.

Get in the hearse, passenger-side and buckle up.  It may be a slow and heavy ride but this vehicle does not observe traffic law.  It remains doubtful hearse-riding doom rock "Baptized in wolf's piss" ever would.  "Wolf Clergy" kicks up a cloud of cadaver dust with cowbell, subject matter culled from hoary old horror tropes and fuzzy riffs.  It's about as perfect an introduction as possible, quick, to the point and full of what the band has in mind and in store on 'Get In The Hearse'.

The anthemic "A Slow & Heavy Ride" rolls down a blood red carpet on streets paved with bones.  Riff-tacular hookiness is locked in with slow grooviness, creating one of the best songs of the young year.  Double tracked harmonies, dynamic bridge-work and an ass-shredding solo kick things off to whole new levels.  "Vessel of Astaroth" ups the ante again, this time with emphasis on the horror tinged lyrics and catchy vocals, not to mention the chunking riff which slices, dices and sideswipes, knocking rearview mirrors off of the most skeptical of listeners.

Get in the back of the hearse for the second half of the disc and this is right where the band wants you.  The ironically titled "Ain't No New Thing" was given a try out back on 2004's 'Ruins Of Doom' Demo [listen here].  New life is breathed into the song by throwing the spotlight on Liam's bass and a better recorded vocal.  And in a way, isn't that what's incredible about the subgenre of doom metal that a song roughly ten years old sounds just as fresh as anything else to come out, not only on this record but anywhere in music this year.  You'd never guess the song's vintage without knowing.

"Black Sermon" is maybe the doomiest thing going, slow bangin' combustible riff dressed all in black, it cuts a striking figure when the band pulls out all the stops and put the pedal to the metal towards the close, ending up in the chains and switchblades rumble at a nuclear power plant for the incredibly catchy "The Ultimate Atomic Man", which closes the affair, leaving a lasting impression.

We learn here that slow is a relative term.  The ride may be slow and heavy but it's anything but leisurely.  Once the listener gets in the hearse, the band dons their lead boots, gets a-rolling and doesn't stop.  Initially the listener was dragged into the back of the hearse kicking and screaming, but in the end the band is thanked for their effort and the listener won't ever want to come out the back of the hearse again, nor will he be able to.

Each and every song on this things kicks ass, I don't think this band is out to win any awards or break any records, just to play some heavy rock and maybe take a few heads along the way.  Well, that's just what they accomplish here.  'Get In The Hearse' is only the band's second full-length album since forming in 2001, but this album may be a springboard to greater more frequent activity as the band is already busy at work on a follow-up, tentatively titled 'Chromehenge'.  This is a development that is supported wholeheartedly here at PH HQ.  Here we are, a mere 25 per cent into 2013 and I am already willing to predict 'Get In The Hearse' will rank fairly high in the year end festivities on this blog.  "The hearse ... a classic experience".

Highlights include: "A Slow & Heavy Ride" and "The Ultimate Atomic Man"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 31:43

Grant Powell - Guitar,Vocals
Liam Khan - Bass
Kev Sibley - Drums

From: Wiltshire, England

Genre: Biker Doom, Hard Rock

Reminds me of: The Gentlemen Bastards, Saint Vitus, S.I.M.B.

Release Date: March 1, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Black smoke spewing bikers, dressed in heavy riffs bring silver bullets to a nuclear power plant rumble.

Better Reviews:
The Robust Fellow
Ride With the Devil

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