Iron Man
Generation Void (Re-Issue)

Taking musical inspiration from Black Sabbath is never a bad thing, especially when bands like Iron Man use it to create doom metal that is as heavy and memorable as what is heard on this Shadow Kingdom reissue of 1999’s Generation Void. One of those bands that have struggled for its art through continual lineup turmoil and minimal (if any) financial gain, Iron Man can at the very least point to an impressive body of work to define its legacy. Main man and guitarist Al Morris III founded the band in 1988 with a clear vision to make heavy music proudly reminiscent of early 70s Black Sabbath and continues doing so today, albeit with a relatively higher degree of recognition thanks to Shadow Kingdom Records. Packaged with liner notes from Kevin McHugh, bonus rehearsal tracks, and a decent quality DVD of a December 31, 1999 gig at Phantasmagoria in Wheaton, Maryland, Generation Void is a damn good album and a fine example of the Maryland/DC doom sound.

The album proper contains 11 songs defined by Iron Man’s nostalgic and invigorating interpretation of the classic Sabbath-ian style, offering just enough of its own personality and compositional style to keep it well away from second rate tribute. Most often reminding of the tone/approach of Master of Reality, the songs of Generation Void are packed with the great Iommi-esque riffs and warm, textured solos of Morris, the Ozzy-by-way-of-Dio-by-way-of-Halford vocals of Michalak, and the rock solid and swinging Butler/Ward rhythms of bassist Ginger and drummer Vic Tomaso. Yet the element that pushes Generation Void beyond mere doom metal crush is the knack for strong melody inherent in virtually every track, perhaps best exemplified by catchy opening cut “On the Mountain.” Honestly though, there isn’t a bum tune in the bunch and that includes acoustic interlude “Ironica Blue” and the drum solo wrapped in an instrumental that is “Juggernaut.” Tempos and mood variation are integral as well. “Winds of Change” serves as a strong pace changer with its airy-verse-heavy-chorus construction, while the title track hits with a chunky vibe more reminiscent of Vol. IV era Black Sabbath. Oddly enough (and surely unintentional) certain riff/vocal patterns in “Survivor” bring an early Helmet type of aggressiveness to mind, at least in a vague sort of way.

It is difficult to imagine any fan of early Black Sabbath and/or traditional doom not eating up Generation Void. The bonus rehearsal cuts and DVD live performance don’t come off as the work of afterthought either. Both add value and contribute to the overall enjoyment of the reissue. Good stuff; no two ways about it.

 

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
December 12th, 2011

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    oh my god, that cover art.


  2. Commented by: Jordan Itkowitz

    so which is better, this or Orchid (I really enjoyed Orchid)


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