Ironmaster – Weapons of Spiritual Carnage (Black Lion Records)

Friday, 28th April 2023
Rating: 8.5 / 10

This trio of Swedish musicians within Ironmaster have quite a resume in the extreme metal landscape – including members with ties to Scar Symmetry, Dark Funeral, World Below, Carnal Forge, and Edge of Sanity at points in their careers. Forming in April 2020, a debut album Thy Ancient Fire hit the streets in February 2022 – with the band wasting no time crafting the follow-up sophomore outing, Weapons of Spiritual Carnage. A ten-track affair, listeners can expect a crushing mix of death metal the 90’s way from their native Sweden as well as the Florida movement – sprinkling in some sophisticated guitar runs plus thrash angles to spice up the mix.

Balls out riffing, blasting tempos, and supreme, deep growls take over the bulk of the approach within this record – it’s a sonic barrage filled to the brim with all the exotic tricks, tight transition switches, and brutality balanced out with serious killer chops/musicianship. Unafraid to inject the normal electric proceedings with classical or acoustic touches in odd places only enhances the next deadly music/vocal combination hurled into the aural atmosphere. A tenacious nature beyond the layers of riffing/harmony components gives guitarist Jonas Kjellgren the upper hand to gain instant appeal even on first exposure to the sweeping blitzkrieg to alluring, spacious changes for “Infinite Virulent” or the low buzzsaw, Hate Eternal-esque textures during “Lies of Apathy”. Drummer Janne Jaloma must lose tons of water weight through his killer fleet feet/snare hits, up to the blasting challenge while shifting into more comfortable, groove-laden passages in highlight “Monolithic Suppressor Engaged”. Add in the low roars/growls from Roberth Karlsson to build that next level chill factor to “Bringer of Deception” plus pounding opener “Solemn Pestilence” and it’s evident that they have all the tools necessary to deliver monumental songs fill of viciousness while still being intricate and intense.

The purity of artists like Monstrosity and Hate Eternal against some more progressive Swedish thrash/death influences makes Ironmaster an enjoyable thrill ride for Weapons of Spiritual Carnage. One of those records that gets adrenaline pumping, sure to be on many death metal favorite lists for year’s end.

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