Album Review – Iron Knights / Iron Knights (2014)

Behold the Iron Knights, as they’re ready to rock.

Rating4

coverFinally after almost two years since their debut album, and especially after some huge lineup changes (only bassist Paul “Beam” Robbie and drummer Lawrence “Larry” Paterson remain from the original lineup), British Heavy Metal warriors Iron Knights are back with a new release, the excellent self-titled album Iron Knights, which will surely please all fans of that raw “old school” heavy music from the 80’s.

If someone asks me to summarize the music from the new and invigorated Iron Knights, who by the way ditched their pseudonyms a while ago and have been using their actual names since then, I would say it’s pure Heavy Metal created by the fusion of hot metal blood from New Zealand with an absolute passion for heavy music from the UK. All band members sound totally fired up and excited, which translates into great music full of stamina, and in my opinion the addition of British singer and guitarist Jamie Gibson (ex-Possession) was crucial for their new “formula” to actually work. As Mr. Larry Paterson stated in his interview to this webzine a couple of months ago, “The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road.”

We can say Larry was absolutely right in his statement as soon as we hit “play” and the amazing opening track, Transparent, fills our ears with pure Heavy Metal:  a very traditional intro, extremely heavy riffs, pounding drums, some Thrash Metal elements from bands such as Anthrax, and an awesome chorus that will work perfectly live with the fans screaming “I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU!” with the band, are the perfect mix for inflaming the listener and making him start headbanging like hell. And the band keeps on rockin’ with Falling from Grace, with its Southern Metal riff, lots of groove and a very pleasant melody, and the 80’s Thrash Metal sonority from Vicious Circle, with highlights to the great vocals by Jamie Gibson on top of all the shredding and fast beats.

The next track, a ballad named A Chapter’s Lesion, might not be bad but it sounds a little generic, maybe showing the band should stick to the heavier and faster music from the first three songs, which is proven in Genocide, with its very traditional heavy sonority full of interesting riffs, guitar solos and especially the breaks halfway through the song. Then we have the good Cry for Help, with its intro and riffs a little similar to Iron Maiden’s classic “Flight of Icarus”, where it’s clear how much the band members put their hearts and souls into this album. Moreover, I could see this song being played a lot at most Rock N’ Roll radios in North America if the band had signed with a major record label.

IronKnightsAlthough the last two original tracks in Iron Knights might be completely different in terms of speed and violence, they are truly awesome and achieve their purpose almost flawlessly: I’m pretty sure Mr. Larry Paterson loves to play what is the best song of the album for me, Blind, a fast, heavy and furious mix of Heavy and Thrash Metal with a magnificent chorus; while Jacob’s Ladder, the second ballad of the album, is a lot better than the first one due to all the emotion in it, and besides, it gets a lot heavier after 3 minutes, ending the album in a very energetic way.

Last but not least, in regards to the bonus tracks (all re-recordings of some songs from their 2012 album New Sound of War), they’re all very powerful and perfect for hitting the road, especially the amazing Jericho. The only thing I didn’t understand in the album is the absence of the awesome single “Destroyer”. What the hell happened to it? I thought it was going to be part of the album for sure. Anyway, I downloaded it a while ago and will simply add it to my album folder as an “additional” bonus track.

And after Iron Knights (which can be purchased at the band’s official online shop) is over, you’ll probably grab another beer, hit “play” again and enjoy this great traditional Heavy Metal album one more time, because that’s how things should be when the music in question is not only good, but also potent and rightful. So behold the Iron Knights, as those guys are ready to rock and keep the fire of Heavy Metal alive, hopefully for many years to come.

Best moments of the album: Transparent, Vicious Circle, Blind and Jacob’s Ladder.

Worst moments of the album: A Chapter’s Lesion.

Released in 2014 Metalbox Recordings

Track listing
1. Transparent 5:05
2. Falling from Grace 3:41
3. Vicious Circle 3:47
4. A Chapter’s Lesion 4:20
5. Genocide 4:00
6. Cry for Help 4:42
7. Blind 3:21
8. Jacob’s Ladder 4:39

Bonus tracks (re-recorded from New Sound of War)
9. Bloodstorm 3:54
10. The Messenger 4:33
11. Jericho 4:21

Band members
Jamie Gibson – vocals, guitars
Wayne Mann – guitars
Paul “Beam” Robbie – bass
Lawrence “Larry” Paterson – drums

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Interview – Larry Paterson (Iron Knights)

Heavy Metal drummer and writer Lawrence ‘Larry’ Paterson (Arbitrater, Metalhead, Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Raven Lord, Iron Knights) talks about his drumming style and career, his passion for World War II, his books, Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden, his current band Iron Knights, and more.

Larry_PatersonThe Headbanging Moose: You have already played in your career with many different bands such as Chokehold, Blaze Bayley, Iron Knights and Raven Lord. What are the main differences you found playing with each one of those bands? Did you have to adapt your style to their music, or did they accept your ideas in their creative process?

Larry Paterson: Actually, I never really adapted to suit the bands – it’s more you bring what you have into it. You will always alter what you are doing slightly anyway to match the other people’s playing; but the same influences always come into play really, even if you are headed in slightly different directions. From the bands you mentioned above, in three of them I had a lot of creative input into everything; the drumming itself, but also ideas for arrangements and so on. I don’t play guitar well at all, or sing, but I can still hear ideas that may or may not work, in the same way that guitarists have good drum ideas. That way it becomes a real collaboration between everybody and the songs can really evolve into the magic of that band. If there’s no magic – then you haven’t got the right guys 🙂

Raven Lord was one where creative input wasn’t wanted at all, so that didn’t last long for me 😉

Chokehold, Blaze Bayley and Iron Knights all have/had the same buzz for me – particularly on stage. Good straight down the line heavy metal, maybe with a twist here and there. That’s what I like to write and play 🙂

THM: There’s a new Iron Knights song available for download in the band’s official website, called Destroyer, which by the way is really good. Is that exactly what the fans can expect from the new Iron Knights album that you’re planning to release in 2014? How about future tours? Are you planning on touring only the UK and parts of Europe, or are you going to extend the tour to other parts of the world such as Latin America, USA/Canada, Australia and Japan?

LP: Thanks very much; glad you like it. It’s definitely the way things are headed 🙂 Iron Knights really needed to evolve from what it started out as, and it has done so. The new stuff coming out is sounding really strong to my ears and I can’t wait to get it on the road. Ultimately, it’s a new band so will take time to grow, but we want to play anywhere and everywhere that we can. May take a while to get out of the UK – and we still have a TON of work to do here – but we want to play anywhere that wants us!

saxontour4THM: You have just finished a tour with the band/project called James Rivera’s Sabbath Judas Sabbath in the UK. Can you give us more details about this project? Who are the other musicians in the band? I saw the setlist for some of the concerts and it’s an awesome mix of the heaviest Priest classics with the best songs from the Dio years. How were the songs selected for this tour?

LP: It’s good fun this one. Beam (the bassist from Iron Knights and SJS) and I met James when we supported Vicious Rumors in Europe. At the time Iron Knights was the original lineup and falling apart more and more each day. But James already had this thing going in other countries where he would fly in and do the cover set. Beam and I grew up on this stuff, so it’s always a blast to play it and we got our friend Shoi Sengupta and Paul Nazakardeh in on guitars (both EXCELLENT players from the band De Profundis). James had the setlist which we added one or two tracks to and voila…we’re off. Great fun, and of course James can actually hit the notes in stuff like Painkiller and Screaming For Vengeance!

THM: Let’s imagine you had a similar type of project, but with focus on the material from all your previous bands, from your start with Arbitrater until today. If you had to select 15 or 20 songs to play on tour, which songs would you pick and why?

LP: Wow…that’s a hard question. Hmmm…well I can tell you that the reason for all the songs I choose would be because they have a lot of feel to me; either in the vibe of the song or sometimes just the speed (I like a bit of fast drumming every now and then!) Well, in no particular order they would be:

1. Judge And Jury (Arbitrater)
2. Choose Your Weapons (Arbitrater)
3. Life On Loan (Chokehold)
4. Legion (Chokehold)
5. Faith Of Fear (Chokehold)
6. The Man Who Would Not Die (Blaze Bayley)
7. Robot (Blaze Bayley)
8. Smile Back At Death (Blaze Bayley)
9. God Of Speed (Blaze Bayley)
10. City Of Bones (Blaze Bayley)
11. Voices From The Past (Blaze Bayley)
12. Comfortable In Darkness (Blaze Bayley)
13. Ludovico Technique (Metalhead)
14. Crack In The System (Blaze Bayley)
15. Post Work Syndrome (Chokehold)

That should make me sweat a bit 🙂

THM: You have written around 9 non-fiction histories of Germany’s Second World War U-boat service since the year 2000 due to your passion and interest in the Second World War. Could you give us more details about those books and where we can find them for sale? When did your passion for this type of topic start, and why did a Heavy Metal drummer like you suddenly decide to write many books about it? Have you ever turned any of the stories in your books into music, or are you planning to do so?

LP: Actually, I have been interested in WW2 since I was a kid. One of my Grandfathers was in the ANZACs in WW1 and the other in the Royal Navy in WW2 and they taught me that people were people no matter who they fought for. So I started to specialize in the German forces. My main areas of study were actually the Army and Waffen SS but I spent several years as a scuba instructor and was diving on a lot of German wrecks from the Second World War when I lived in France. That led to me writing a book about the U-boat service which became my specialist field. It’s important to me, this kind of history, and it’s a human story, not a political one. I have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people who served in all of the German forces, not to mention the Allied ones, and it’s always very humbling.

I haven’t actually written any songs about it – but there are plenty that feature war as a kind of theme.

THM: As a drummer and at the same time a connoisseur of World Wars, what’s your opinion about the Iron Maiden song Paschendale, which is about the Battle of Passchendaele that took place during the First World War and that had Canada as one of its most important players? Have you ever played this song live, with friends or by yourself?

LP: I think that is one of the best Maiden songs for years! My Grandfather (the ANZAC) was involved in that battle as part of the Australian Army and I have his memories of it that he wrote down before he died. Terrible battle! And Adrian Smith managed to capture all that imagery in the song. It’s brilliant musically and emotionally. I have jammed along with it, but never played it properly.

THM: You have also written a book about the Blaze Bayley band’s history entitled At The End Of The Day, published in 2009 with an update in 2010. Could you give us more details about this book, and where can we find it? How is your relationship today with Blaze and the other guys that played together with you then?

LP: Well, it’s still available through my website and as a Kindle version on Amazon. I had a great time in that band though we definitely didn’t see eye to eye by the time I left. I’m in touch with them all every now and then and hope they’re all moving on okay. I know Jay has Bull-Riff Stampede now which is doing great things here. Haven’t really spoken to Blaze much, but you never know what’ll happen in the future.

?;&????xV4xV4xV4xV4`^+&??????????CALZDFE02Cur.ZDFI02CML018001001THM: Canada is not very famous for generating a lot of heavy music bands, although we have some good ones such as The Agonist, Annihilator, Anvil, and of course one of the best progressive rock bands of all time, Rush. What do you know about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada, and what are your favorite artists and bands from here (if any)? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us?

LP: Actually – I don’t know too much about the Canadian metal scene other than the bands you mentioned. I’ve only been to Canada once and loved it. The only band I saw was a covers band that did an amazing version of Sympathy For The Devil (can’t remember much else…..I had a beer or two…). I do remember thinking that the Canadian music scene in general seemed pretty healthy, but that was in the late 90s so no idea how it is now. It can be hard to break out of your home country, so I’m guessing there are lots of good bands that are trying to make that break.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time! Would you like to send a special message to all headbangers in Canada?

LP: Thank you for your interest! A special message? You guys live in a fantastic country – Keep metal alive – Support smaller bands – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!….and buy the new Motorhead album! 😉 Hope to get over there sometime.

Links
Larry Paterson Official Website | Facebook | Twitter YouTube
Iron Knights Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

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