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Iron Man : Live at Annie's Saloon, Cincinnati, Ohio 2/9/00

Iron Man is the trad. doom world's best-kept secret. This is partly because despite the fact that the band has been together, in one configuration or another, for well over 10 years, they have only three albums to their credit (6+ years since the last one, dammit!), and the first two of those are almost impossible to find. It is also partly due to the fact that they seem cursed with debilitating lineup changes, group breakups, broken tours, and no-shows at major gigs. Despite all of this, main Iron Man Al Morris II has soldiered on as only a true doomster can; the group is now back in action, trying out new members and looking to play those elusive shows.

Beginning back in the 90s as a 'Sabbath cover band, Mr. Morris & co. soon realized they had the talent and chops to start playing original music, and the group's CDs illustrate the wisdom of that decision. Al's sweet sense of tone makes him one of the best riffing doom guitarists this side of Iommi. Iron Man is also adept at creative riff building, as their CDs have shown. Great songwriting, great tone, great musicianship, and a heavy allegiance to all things Sabbath make the band one of the Maryland scene's heaviest - albeit lesser known - players.

So now we're at the end of 2006, and the band is announcing their presence by making a show from their last tour back in 2000 available, namely their gig at Annie's Saloon in Cincinnati, on 2/9/00. I remember that tour, 'cause I intended to go see them in St. Louis, though I'm not sure that they ever made it that far before imploding. Too bad, because the show sounds great! Vocalist Dan Michalak is front and center, with his strong, clean vibrato-filled voice biting off chunks of lyrics and spitting them out at the audience in bloody chunks. Morris' 'Sabbath-esque guitar is filled with evil, and the rhythm section is in the pocket all the way. It's my understanding that "Ginger", who played bass on the group's last album, 'Generation Void' had at that point been replaced by the excellent visual artist VIIX, whose work has graced album covers by Life Beyond, among others. The song selection favors the then-fresh 'Generation Void', mixed with a couple of classics from their best album, the elusive 'The Passage'. Iron Man also shows that they're not averse to adding in the odd ingredient if it makes sense - dig the NWOBHM influence on 'As the Gods Have Spoken'. Fine stuff!

If you needed any proof that I'm only in it for the love, know that I'm not even sure this album is available for sale anymore. I can tell you with certainty that the band knows and approves of its distribution. I also know that if you click on over to the web forum listed above, that the band's management would happily fix you up with a burn. Any discerning doomster will want this on their Christmas list.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. On the Mountain
2. Unjust Reform
3. Boston Strangler
4. Generation Void
5. Harvest of Earth
6. As the Gods Have Spoken

Duration : Approx. 28 minutes

Visit the Iron Man bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kevin McHugh
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