Ironstone – Prophecy (Self-Released)Thursday, 28th May 2020
Even in these tumultuous, stay home/stay safe pandemic times, those who want to seek out music as an escape and lifestyle can find plenty of new content within a few keystrokes. Hailing from Bendigo, Australia since 2018, Ironstone are a five-piece unit releasing their debut EP Prophecy which is an intertwining of various modern/progressive metal styles. Today’s younger generation of musicians literally have unlimited exposure to subgenres of metal as well as outside the box influences should they choose to develop them – and that appears to be the game plan through these six songs that makes things alluring, enchanting, and intriguing for successive listens.
Employing everything from modern groove/djent musical hooks, progressive rhythms/ off-time signatures, fluid guitar breaks, and occasional exotic atmospheric textures against some dual melodic/extreme vocal aspects ensures that Ironstone don’t paint themselves into a one size fits all corner. The low-tuned djent crunch against Egyptian-like chord combinations makes “Downpour” an easy opener to enjoy – while the rhythmic simplicity word commands within “Bound” showcase a bit more of the band’s commercial leanings, especially in the melodic confidence of singer Dan Charlton – the subtle keyboard line use providing more of a hook to hang upon as the stunted guitars shift from Periphery/TesseracT-oriented propulsion to a modern/alternative rock landscape. Weaving in counterpoint rhythms and circular melodic runs as the rhythm section has to fluctuate between pounding tempos and jumpy transitions, the band understand that they have to develop catchy main sections from building soft to screaming vocals, intriguing sweeps, or dynamic contrast to keep listener engagement as well as anticipation on high. The mysterious fading guitars and haunting keyboards allow “Killed a Man” to be a personal favorite, Dan again standing behind some of the pacing then unleashing these blood curdling screams that shake the rafters. It seems like the band also has a strong image / cover art plan in place which adds to the professionalism and branding present at a very early stage in their career.
Prophecy represents the current, modern breed of progressive metal – djent-oriented, but still melodic and catchy on a focused, streamlined songwriting front. Ironstone could have a bright future ahead as they grow together as musicians and gain more live seasoning.