Iron Griffin is a project by Mausoleum Gate multi-instrumentalist Oskari Räsänen, the previous self-titled EP was reviewed here a couple of years ago. Iron Griffin are very much what is termed proto-metal, using a less distorted sound and pulling in influences that are wide ranging, almost fitting of the post-Woodstock generation of the early 70’s, that for me comes from the vocals. This time around we have Maija Tiljander adding a medieval twist to the themes of swords and sorcery making this an extremely organic album.
That said, it’s very much a similar sounding album from track to track. ‘Lost Legion’ is a touch more metallic, a little harder and the same can be said for ‘Forgotten Steel’. By the time you get to the more epic ‘To the Path of Glory’, then you reach your conclusion, you have the theme and style of the album nailed. Prior to this, without such a strong track bringing up the rear, it’s simply a nice clean album to tap along too. The art of conveying these parables via telling a great story is really key, more so than the musical style. You can be transported to a distant land, immerse yourself in the cultured approach and look back at the results with a strong sense of accomplishment.
This is a tough one to place in the market, it’s not straight out metal but it has its flourishes. In some aspects, you could take this release with open arms if you like Wytch Hazel or similar, but with a lower level of class to that UK bands last outing. In short, a pleasant listen filled with individual inspiration for such a project. If there have been greater influence in the song writing then there may have been a different result in the tracks recorded. It’s not a bad album, its good, but needs a touch more expansion, a touch more expression. As I mentioned in part earlier, a lot of these 7 tracks sound very similar due to the strong vocal presence that strays in its uniqueness as the album progresses.
(7/10 Paul Maddison)