Iron Man - I Have Returned
Shadow Kingdom Records
Doom Metal
10 songs (44'13")
Release year: 2009
Iron Man, Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Adam
Album of the month
Last week, I remarked in my review of Revelation’s newest effort that the last few years have seen a healthy amount of comeback albums in the realm of doom. To further hammer this point home, Maryland’s Iron Man have recently unleashed upon us the appropriately titled I Have Returned, their first full length album in 10 years via the ever improving traditional doom stable Shadow Kingdom Records.

For those unfamiliar with Iron Man, “Iron” Al Morris III originally formed the group as a Black Sabbath cover band (hence the title) before presumably discovering a key fact: he could write some immensely heavy and rocking doom riffs with regularity. All kidding aside though, Al is a legend in the genre and I Have Returned is simply another testament to this fact. Save for the ever-present Al, the Iron Man roster for this comeback has been completely retooled since 1999’s Generation Void with Joe Donnelly taking over on vocals, Louis Strachan on bass, and Dex Dexter on drums. Donnelly comes from another Sabbath cover band called Sabbra Cadabra and as such bears more than a passing resemblance to Ozzy in the vocal department. Al’s riffwriting has lost precisely none of its potency, as the opening track Burn the Sky (one of a handful of tracks re-recorded from 2007’s self released EP Submission) tears off immediately and never lets up. The production is outstanding, and Al’s guitar is given just the right amount of crunch. When I said the man was a riff-writing legend, I was not overstating. Save for the short acoustic interlude Days of Olde, you are assured of finding at least one asskicker of a riff in every single track. With a solid and consistent focal point like that, the rest of the band don’t necessarily have to shine, but Donnelly does manage a few excellent efforts. On the title track, his soaring and sustained cries are an outstanding cherry on top of Al’s crunchy riffing and piercing solo. On Curse the Ages (Curse Me), his voice is layered both low and high to great effect. At its core though, and as expected, I Have Returned is a showcase of marvelous riffing. Some more of my personal favorites are the galloping melody to Blind Sighted Forward Spiral and the heavily distorted and bending riff of Gomorrah Gold.

It’s quite remarkable that a comeback album with 75% of the members changed can sound this concise. I cannot stress this enough, if you’re a geek for the rocking riffs you can often find in traditional doom, I Have Returned is going to be right up your alley. This a very solid effort and a glorious re-entrance for a band that, like many of their Maryland counterparts, do not get nearly enough respect outside of doom circles.
Killing Songs :
Burn the Sky, Blind Sighted Forward Spiral, I Have Returned
Adam quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Iron Man that we have reviewed:
Iron Man - Black Knight reviewed by Crash and quoted 59 / 100
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