If you name your band after a particularly shit-kicking early track by The Obssessed then there is quite a high chance that I will be inclined to listen to you, so German duo Iron & Stone are off to a good start as far as I’m concerned.
Hailing from Hildesheim, Germany – somewhere that may well be the Euro equivalent of Bumfuck, Arkansas, as I’ve never bloody heard of it – this is essentially a studio project, for now, and the brainchild of vocalist Henning Lührig and guitarist, bassist and drum programmer Stephan Möller, both of whom have done time in a variety of metal and hardcore bands of whom I am totally ignorant.
It’s actually the hardcore sound that shines through here as Möller has synthesized a hybrid of sorts that is as much Crowbar as it is Hatebreed – although, oddly, Maelstrom doesn’t really put me as in mind of the Hatebreed/Crowbar side project Kingdom of Sorrow as you would think it would –
more than likely down to the fact that I never really gave it more than a cursory listen, but, nevertheless Iron & Stone sit very comfortably between the crushing doom of New Orlean’s heaviest sons and the taut, no frills hardcore-tinged-with-Slayer-esque-metal of Jamey Jasta’s lot. The hardcore background and continued legacy is given further credence by Lührig’s throaty crossover-style bark and tight delivery
The influence of The Obssessed is clearly felt too, when Möller moves from tightly compressed blocks of chording into fuzzy biker-rock style riffage that has all of the hallmarks of Wino and co, and even throws in a couple of textured guitar parts that have a touch of that Weinrich stamp to ’em, most notably the watery ripples that colour the end of ‘Blizzard’ and the background ambient parts that can be faintly heard at the beginning of closing track ‘Rising Tides’.
You may find yourself thinking that the five tracks that make up Maelstrom are a little one-dimensional and ultimately a bit samey, but let me put it into context for you – this recording is basically a demo, hashed out between Möller and Lührig, with Möller being the sole musician and the drums being programmed, something that I would have never noticed if I hadn’t been told. Yes, it’s early days for the duo, but once the duo manage to recruit live band members and get some experience playing together ‘in the room’, as it were, I can see Iron & Stone developing into a solid, muscular, hardcore-influenced doom band, and Lührig and, particularly, Möller stretching out musically – the chops are certainly there and you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on these boys in future.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Paul Robertson