Released: 2008, Small Stone Records
Born in Albany, NY, Ironweed formed from the ashes of the monstrous Greatdayforup. When that band folded, some of the members decided that they would continue on and, snapping up members of fellow New Yorker’s (and recently folded) Held Under, Ironweed was born.
Whereas Greatdayforup was a brutal, menacing stoner beast, Ironweed retains the heaviness, but replaces much of the fury with hooks and catchy riffs. Don’t get me wrong though, INDIAN LADDER is still heavy as hell for stoner rock, but there is a certain levity to the riffs born by concise song writing and rhythmic power. A perfect example is “Lost and Forgotten” which is born along on rumbling riffs and thunderous drumming from Jim Feck, topped with the ragtag but still melodic vocals of Jeff Andrews.
In fact most of the album rumbles along at the same mid-paced lope that is inherent to 95% of stoner metal these days. That can make it tough for a band to stand out amongst its similarly fuzzed-out brothers, but somehow Ironweed makes it work and sound unique. Part of it is Jeff Andrews. The guy is a vocal monster. As the album moves along he slowly mutates from regular singing to more of a death-inflected growl, before switching back to his regular voice again. Once this happens, he switches off as appropriate, breathing some life into songs where a lesser vocalist would be content to continually copy Ozzy Osbourne’s style.
Still, the whole band is firing on this album. If may not be the most original album you’ll hear this year, but it’s certainly guaranteed to be one of the most entertaining.