Stalwarts of the South Wales Doom/Stoner Rock scene for nearly a quarter of a century now and nearly a decade as a band, Ironbird are back with their long awaited second album. Persian Blade sees the band taking their familiar doom tones to unexplored realms, whilst retaining the signature heaviness that we love them for. Lyrically, the band explores themes such as assassins, curses and false messiahs, which while steeped in history or legend, are somehow made almost political; such is the state of the world at the moment.
From the opening notes of first track White Stork, you know you are in for a treat. The more up tempo opening riff is broken down by drummer Adam doing what he does best, turning it into a track the likes of NOLA titans Down wish they’d written. The band’s signature groove is still intact with the Sabbath esque vibes of The Healer and the monstrously heavy title track Persian Blade with some great guitar work from Van who almost solo’s himself into oblivion at one point. Then we get a bit of a curveball launched at us as the luscious vibes of Last Siren come in complete with some beautiful keyboard work. There’s dual vocal’s at work throughout the album, which works well and none more so than here, giving the band an almost Alice in Chains type quality in places. Gob’s thundering bass lines dictate Cradle Of Time while the staccato attack of From The Slave To The Grave once more shows the bands versatility and willingness to push the envelope. Eli properly attacks the vocals on the thrashy pit inducing Circle Of Sin, before whole thing ends with the crushing The Hunt Goes On- essentially a doomy track that builds into a stunning chaotic crescendo.
Persian Blade is a triumphant return for a band that have long deserved more credit and has proved that pushing the boundaries and exploring all avenues doesn’t mean giving up your core sound- which I have to add is helped in no small part by a stellar in house production job by Van coupled with mastering by Pete Maher (who has previous with The Rolling Stones and Nine Inch Nails no less.) In a scene that was becoming overrun with mediocrity Ironbird have once again risen above the pack and showed them all how it should be done... Chris Andrews