Released: 2001, Independent
I don’t like being critical of indie product but sometimes these things need to be mentioned in a constructive criticism fashion. IK are a new band formed from the remains of another Ottawa area independent act several years ago hence the somewhat confusing title, especially to those who don’t know the story. The name is cool enough, the cover is pretty dull and blurry, a chess piece, a knight to be precise, Fair enough, a cool idea but why is the knight blue if you call yourselves Ivory Knight? The graphics and presentation are not the best but lyrics are included as well as notes etc. The band doesn’t look very metal at all actually, more like chess-club prog guys but ultimately who cares, it is what is inside that counts.
The music on this disc is a very fine blend of classic metal and touches of prog, kinda like Fates Warning that is a very good thing! The tunes are mature and sophisticated if even somewhat muted at times. The band never really breaks loose and get frantic, but fans with patience and some musical appreciation will find a lot of discover in these songs. The songs are well constructed not too boring, not too self-indulgent either. Touches of acoustic guitar and some orchestration are sprinkled throughout. The ballad “Picture of Innocence” is quite dull but ultimately heartfelt and well done. “Roads of Glory clips along at a decent pace.
The individual performances are all quite good, it seems they are quite experienced musicians but unfortunately the muted mix takes some of the life out the music. The separation of instruments is ok but the whole thing is a touch muddy, I would have preferred a louder, bolder brighter mix.
The vocalist, John Perinbaum (driving force behind the band and the only guy with long hair!) has a very nice vocal style, never screaming, never whining, never squeaking with a mid-range sound which are all excellent qualities. I would really like him to cut loose and let fly with some screams or maybe hold some notes for long periods because it obvious he has range and power but doesn’t utilize it to his full potential. Only on the aptly named,“True Signs of Life” the last track does he (and the band) really rip and push the envelope. The back-up vocals are decent as well adding a little more dimension.
This is a good CD, not mind-blowing, ultimately not that heavy, but nothing is really wrong with it either. I really feel the band would benefit to crank the entire affair up an intensity level or two. Everything comes across as a bit too clean and clinical. I was expecting some fantasy based, blazing speed-metal with a name like Ivory Knight but instead was treated to somewhat introspective lyrics rooted in reality, presented by a solid traditional metal band. I don’t know why but I can’t shake the mental comparison to Fates Warning’s Inside Out, or maybe even Armoured Saint, which as fans of those bands will know is a compliment and complaint at the same time. Definitely worth checking out and supporting. Visit them at http://www.ivoryknight.com