I'll preface this review with the statement I think it is generally amazing what music is being distributed today that as recently as 10 years ago would have never seen its way beyond a basement jam session. The emergence of computer recording software, much of it now free shareware for the budding musician, has put the concept of home recording within the price range of anyone with some dedicated computer skills.
That is where Iron Dragon comes from, the fertile minds of guitarist Ryan Crouse and bass player Sam Derkatch. (See related story this edition).
Like many young musicians this pair found themselves jamming in the basement of Crouse's home and before long the music was no longer material from favoured bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but instead were original compositions.
The entrepreneur in Crouse, he self-produces comic books too, soon had the original music laid down on tracks via his home computer, and a CD was born.
Is this the cleanest recording? No, it isn't quite up to studio grade. The musicians know that themselves.
But, then again this is metal music, and having a raw-boned edge to the sound isn't particularly a bad thing, and far more forgivable here than it would be on many other genres.
Helping out the overall sound is the fact this full-length effort – there are 23 cuts ranging from interludes of 30-plus seconds to Mortal Realm clocking in at 6:15 – is purely instrumental. I have always rather enjoyed instrumental metal, at least above the screaming into a microphone kind. In talking to Crouse there are lyrics for most cuts, but since neither he nor Derkatch have the voices to carry the songs, they chose the instrumental avenue.
So what do we have here? Well, it's guitar-driven mental. You can tell it's Iron Dragon's first work. Crouse, a self-taught guitarist is raw too, but again he knows that and they do a descent job of staying within themselves. They don't push the packet too far, knowing as musicians the intricacies would be beyond their skill.
Still, this isn't a bad CD. Musically, there is material on label releases far less appealing than what these two have managed.
That they are local Yorkton boys, as they say "trying to put Yorkton metal on the map" they deserve to be supported.
Check out this CD at Fuzztone Music in the city, or on Crouse's website at http://cdbaby.com/cd/irondragon
-- CALVIN DANIELS