Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review -- IRON DRAGON -- Open The Gates

Open The Gates
Iron Dragon
Iron Dragon is the local Yorkton duo of guitarist Ryan Crouse and bass player Sam Derkatch. Regular readers might remember the name since in June 2007 the pair released their debut album which was reviewed here.Iron Dragon is a band which owes its existence to technology. The pair began jamming, and before long they were creating original compositions, which home computer technology allowed them to produce a CD from.In reviewing their first release as having “a raw-boned edge to the sound” which wasn't particularly a bad thing, and far more forgivable in the metal genre than most.Well some of the edges have been smoothed out here. Both Crouse and Derkatch have grown as musicians. More importantly though, you recognize that Crouse, who produced the recording, has learned a few tricks with the recording program, and that has helped improve the musical presentation.The music is metal, with hints of symphonic approach, thanks to computer wizardry so it is widely accessible stylistically.Crouse also seems to have had a bit more of a plan for the CD in terms of content. There is a story here that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sadly though, as was the case with the debut, Open The Gates is basically an instrumental album except for a few voice dubs for effect. Like the debut Crouse said there are lyrics for several of the songs on Open The Gates, but neither he, nor Derkatch is comfortable vocally bringing the words to life. Since this is an album with an epic story underlying the music, it would be easier for the listener to get into that story, with some vocal guidance. Since Crouse also writes self-published comic books it would be interesting to hear his take on metal lyrics.Certainly, if Iron Dragon is to grow with a third album searching out a singer should be considered a top priority.Still, even without lyrics, this is a step ahead for Iron Dragon musically. Nicely done.

-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 1, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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