Iron Age - The Sleeping Eye (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Iron Age

The Sleeping Eye (2009)

Tee Pee

Most bands that play NYHC don't usually sing about wizards, demons and mystical vortexes; concurrently, most bands who sing about those things don't play NYHC. To be fair, neither of those categories really sums up Iron Age very well, but as far as generalizations go, well, yeah. Add in a bit of thrash metal, and you get the idea.

The Sleeping Eye doesn't seem to get a whole lot deeper than those two first impressions. Fantasy metal fans won't like the relentless thrash and heavy breakdowns. NYHC fans want songs about punching grandmas and have weird fascinations with trips around the ocean on large boats (you know they're always talking about their "cruise," amirite?).

But to the average fan of NYHC and fantasy metal, Iron Age brings a certain validity to both sides of the spectrum. At their worst, both genres are laughably silly. At their best, both genres take themselves way too seriously. And whether it's the chugging intro to "A Younger Earth," or song titles like "The Sleeping Eye of the Watcher," Iron Age has really stepped onto the road less travelled.

The album has a solid rhythm to it. Just when the listener feels like he or she can't take anymore relentless double-time thrash riffing, there's a refreshing breakdown, and when the breakdown starts to drag, the guitars start riffing fast. Add in an ambient intermission, and the album takes shape.

Iron Age songs are about punching orcs in the face and broing down with your guild members, because what is a guild if not just a crew with better weapons and magic (plus a wimpy healer, too, I suppose). Iron Age is a better soundtrack to your next basement D&D session. Iron Age isn't making apologies or pandering to a crowd. And while the end product might be lost on the masses, those who appreciate what they're doing will be playing this album all year long.