“Overlords Of Chaos” by Ironsword

Artist: Ironsword
Title: “Overlords Of Chaos”
Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Release Date: 9/16/2008
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 2/5

This one mystified me a little bit because I am generally one of the biggest proponents of the Heroic Power Metal genre yet from the moment I placed “Overlords Of Chaos” by Ironsword in my CD changer I found myself scratching my head in wonder about what I was actually spinning. The band hails from Portugal, which I felt was good because outside of Gothic Metal greats Moonspell, we don’t always hear from the region when it comes to offering up Metal bands. The problem I first had with the band was based on vocalist Tann because he is in possession of a gruff and almost growling vocal presence as opposed to the expected high register and often sonic screams that the genre continually delivers. As you know, Power Metal is a driving format and it is often true that the singer of the band helps to propel the musicality of the group forward. With the different vocal sound from Tann, this was just not catching me and while the band was tight, it almost sounded like the singer was disinterested in the material. Of course I am sure that it was not truly the case but his voice is not one that grabs you or even sounds like he is excited about what they are doing. To me I felt he was going through motions. Had this been a Hard Rock outfit with more of a crushing groove then his voice would have worked out so much better. Alas, it was not. The group formed in 1995 and “Overloads Of Chaos” is their third release. The bass on the album is handled by Rick Thor while Maalm pounds it out on the drums.

The album is dedicated to the memory of legendary Sword & Sorcery writer Robert E. Howard who many will remember fondly from dozens of books about Conan The Barbarian. The dedication surprised me at first but when I realized how most of the songs were composed around this mythos it made all the more sense. “Cimmeria”, “Wrath Of Crom” and “Hyperborean Hordes” are the tracks that capture this frame of reference most vividly and for those who enjoy reading along with the subject matter, there is a booklet provided that gives you lyrics to absorb. The players are rather tight and seem good at what they do but like I mentioned earlier, it was Tann’s voice that was just ruining this one for me. He also plays guitar and has it together without a doubt in this area but maybe even after so many years of fronting this project he should review his role and perhaps open it up to a powerhouse vocalist that will enable them to leave the underground level and reach for new Metal heights. Curious Power Metal fans might enjoy this if they are those listeners who are willing to give everything that is in this style a chance. I admit that I would probably pass on the next release unless some changes were made if I had my choice and instead I would opt for stuff like Falconer or Kamelot who immediately engage the listener with their material and successfully raise the bar for the genre with each and every go at it. I’ve probably pissed off the bands core believers but with so many visibly profound acts amidst the genre I am guilty of holding everyone to higher standards and have expectations of being floored by every band that delves into this realm.

Track Listing:
1. Death Of The Gods
2. An Ending In Fire
3. Overlords Of Chaos
4. Blood and Honor
5. Cimmeria
6. Wrath Of Crom
7. Hyperborean Hordes
8. Road Warriors
9. Fear The Night
10. Dark Shadows Of Stygia
11. Crown Of Iron
12. Call Of Cthulu
13. The Pyre Of Kings

Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/IronswordOfficial

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