Early in November 2022, Canadian based band Iron Kingdom released their new album, “The Blood of Creation.” Now I was happy enough to be sent a new piece of metal to listen to, but I apologise for sending the review in late for putting up to the boys, mea culpa!
Iron Kingdom deliver eight tracks totaling just over 40 minutes of heavy metal on their sixth full-length album. Catchy riffs are delivered with a dual lead guitar, and vocals in the style of Dio, telling tales with fantasy lyrics. I believe the band seeks to return musically to the feel of the classic metal era of the 1980s, and certainly fans of Dio and Iron Maiden should get plenty from the album. It’s musically tight for a band that’s been around for more than a decade (2011).
“The Blood Of Creation” was completely self-produced, written, and recorded. The album was sent out for mixing (Andy Boldt) and mastering (Greg Reely), but they handled everything else. vocalist/guitarist Chris Osterman engineered the record with some help from the band and some friends (Dan Yakimow, Jeff Black).
At this magazine, we listen to the entire album and comment on it; no short cuts are allowed! Regular readers also know that we don’t give albums star ratings and only review albums that we like. I would continue to run with that theme; I did like the album, and I think that it had a couple of standout tracks backed throughout with great guitar riffs and a sense of melody that particularly came through in the instrumental track opener “Tides of Desolation.” The opener almost caught me out; it had a metal/folk feel to it, and although the band (as so many today say) states that this is absolutely not a concept album, it really feels as if it should be. After the opener I kind of wanted to be taken on the journey of a concept album. It contains songs with a strong fantasy theme, as does the cover. There are souls in danger, swords clashing, and drums pounded, I wanted the Witch Finder to come and save the day!
Instead, I was taken into the raucous opener “Sheathe the Sword.” It gives a fair picture of the album, has a fine heavy riff, and absolutely takes no prisoners. It is one of the two standout tracks on the album.
“Queen of the Crystal Throne” rocks along and makes every use of the double lead guitar, as does “Hunter and Prey,” which includes some serious guitar work and solid drum/bass support. Both of these would rip through a live set, they kick asses and would have them pumping fists in the pit!
Now my favourite was “Witching Hour” because, aside from loving the guitar work, it had this great melody and a drum sound that demanded appreciation. I particularly liked the light and shade in this track, it changes direction at one point and switches the mood. The album closers follow a solid metal vein, “Grip of Nightmares” again delivers the kick that you want, and I do feel the band is moving away to create a sound that is more theirs. This track became the next single, and the band said about it,
““We started writing this song during the ‘On The Hunt’ sessions back in 2019, The song had a different energy than the rest of the album so we decided it would be best to come back to it at a later date. In late 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown, we took a second look at what was to become “In The Grip Of Nightmares.” We rewrote the tune to be what it is today. It tells the tale of the legendary sentient sword “Stormbringer” and its relationship to Elric. The sword “consumes” the souls of those it strikes down and feeds the energy to Elric, who needs it to survive. The two are bound together by fate. “A fate that twists chaos and law and grips Elric in nightmares”
They have undeniable musical talent, and if you are in the mood for a blast of solid fantasy-themed heavy metal, then go for it with this album. They are also a thunderous live act and an Indie band who deserve support; check them out!
1. Tides Of Desolation – 1:13
2. Sheathe The Sword – 5:25
3. Queen Of The Crystal Throne – 4:58
4. Hunter And Prey – 5:25
5. Witching Hour – 5:44
6. In The Grip Of Nightmares (5:23)
7. Primordial – 1:40
8. The Blood Of Creation – 13:38
Total Running Length: 43:29
By Stevie Ritson
Before you head off, do have a read at our poetry page