Crunching blues-metal from Arkansas hits the sweet spot
What a great record this is. Not precisely heavy metal, but more of a heavy blues/hard rock hybrid, Little Rock’s Iron Tongue are an outfit that hearken back to the days when loud guitar bands weren’t afraid of soulful vocals—and they have the chops to pull them off. Maybe the closest analogy I can think of nowadays is Graveyard, whose own Hisingen Blues was a standout album of 2011. Iron Tongue’s latest, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, is a little rougher around the edges than that, but it’s still a damn fine record, with plenty of swampy, brooding guitars, from-the-gut vocals and slogging mid-tempo rhythms.
Album opener “Ever After” sets the listener up nicely, utilizing all the aforementioned elements to create a dense sonic stew before moving to the slightly more stomping “Witchery” and the positively lively “Said N Done”. Occasional female vocals and shimmering keyboards crop up now and then to keep the mix from getting stale, but this is primarily a fuzzhead’s dream: layers of bluesy, sinewy guitars piled on more sinewy guitars, full-throated anthemic vocals and an overwhelming sense of fighting against the encroaching doom. Rock and roll redemption, indeed. Party on, Garth. Party the fuck on.