Another tale of the ostentatious IRON KNIGHTS (Ex-STUKA SQUADRON) prepares us for the bloodbath and Metalstorm of their “New Sound Of War”. This London based outfit just changed their name to IRON KNIGHTS, due to trademark and copyright issues brought up by the band’s ex-member. Overall, these messengers of the macabre have more in common with acts like HALLOWEEN, ST. MADNESS, IMPALER, or GODDESS OF DESIRE, than they do with any Nazi Skinheads.

This is their sophomore effort, and already there has been a significant lineup change. Only the ghoulish chimes of James Duke Fang-Begley and the witchunt guitars of Jamie “Gravedigger” Cox endure. The overall Bauhaus sound of the band has matured, and yet become simplified.The eager leader James Duke howls with a ghostly vision which reminds me of the bizarre Byron Roberts of BAL-SAGOTHor the gritty barracuda bite of Blaze Bayley. He also has that cruel tease  principal low gothic tone Dani Filth sometimes uses to flesh out certain subjects. Also when he attempts his shrill scream, he becomes destined for distinction like Larry Portelli of BLESSED DEATH. The positioning of the staccato squeal in the quick-paced opener “Jericho” is a perfect example of this.As the brooding tales unfold and the rapid gunfire of “First Legion” hits its mark, the pace slows down and become more morbid. The eerie echo of “Tell Me Strange Things” seems like an excerpt from the twisted mind of H.P. Lovecraft. Then, after the left-handed approach of “The Path”, the infernal “Desert Fox” wholly allows for the manhunt madness to begin.The mettle might of “The Messenger” reminds me of WOLFSBANE full of the guise of TWISTED SISTER. It is no wonder that the tailored kitsch and cadence cries of irony cross paths with retro-hounds MESSENGER. The sanguinary relic and morose “Feeder Of Crows” out does itself with contextual imagery. The noxious narration of “Afterwrath” sets the standard for “Bloodstorm” which brings the album to a close as the dire rhythms die down, and lose momentum, altogether. In retrospect, this may not really be a wise choice for ending the album, unless the whole intent is conceptual.

IRON KNIGHTS are on the right track, and the guitar solos by “Gravedigger” and “Count” have more in common with what early SACRED REICH or FLOTSAM & JETSAM attempted with their harmonics. The production has been kicked up a notch, and the war horror themes seem more personal, and almost too fictional. They just lack the melody and musicianship of much better bands like those blood drinkers POWERWOLF.

Maybe after they forsake all vampiric associations with WWII and focus more on just playing Metal for Metal’s sake, then they can avoid the fall and make their final stand into the breach. Perhaps as a last resort they can create some faster anthems which react with more punch and power, and thus utilize catchy choruses which do not seem so bleak or bland. I refer to the song “We Drink Blood” from their debut as an example. Overall, I think I still prefer “Tales Of The Ost”.

1. Jericho
2. First Legion
3. Feeder Of Crows
4. Tell Me Strange Things
5. Immortals
6. The Path
7. Desert Fox
8. The Messenger
9. Afterwrath
10. Bloodstorm

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Iron Knights – New Sound Of War 2012

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