Ironsword - Overlords of Chaos
Shadow Kingdom Records
Heavy Metal
13 songs (57'01")
Release year: 2008
Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Overlords of Chaos by the Portuguese power trio Ironsword is both retribution and compensation for all those true Robert E. Howard fans who thought that the Conan movies did little to portray the hero the way the original author intended him to be. Moreover, it is a further statement on the weakness of the Basil Poledouris synth/keyboard laden soundtrack and the mark of respect to the Robert E. Howard himself, a talented American writer of the Great Depression era whose life ended so tragically.

If heavy metal for you rhymes with “muscular” and “powerful” music and you tend to like the style of metal promulgated by Cruz Del Sur Records and Miskatonic Foundation, Overlords of Chaos is directly up your alley. Avoiding “wimpy” as plague, Ironsword is an epitome of epic, heroic and barbaric metal.

Often similarly structured in terms of their verse-chorus population and loaded with Hyborian lyrical references, Ironsword run through their stout 13 tracks varying only slightly in stylistic sense and never wavering on the message. Death of the Gods may be galloping triplets. Crown of Iron, Fear the Night and Wrath of Crom are speedier thrashier numbers with more grit, combining the qualities of Iron Maiden, early Savatage and countless NWOBHM examples. Cimmeria almost brushes up against Mob Rules touching off on Teutonic power metal, while Hyperborean Hordes and Call of Cthulhu are a lot more methodical hammering Hail to England-era Manowar. Blood and Honor is even more deliberate, slower pounding rocker. Feisty or dreamy, Ironsword will either win you over, and you will be a fan of all these well-crafted short epics, or you would not be able to sit through the first trio. It all depends on how much you are wearing metal on your sleeve, and willing to run down the street with m-e-t-a-l patch sewn right onto the tired and true leather jacket.

One could claim that going with as many as 13 tracks on one album, where the similarities between the songs are obvious, is a little overboard. Given the fact that the songs were written over the five year period I would almost wish the Portuguese would not blow it all up in one load, as by the time semi-balladic The Pyre of Kings rolls around, one feels practically desensitized, exhausted as if having gone through a seven tome fantasy series with no conclusion in sight. Nevertheless, the story is all well written, the band tight as a sailor’s knot, Tann’s muscular (and sometimes more sinister) voice a perfect vehicle to deliver the lyrics. Well placed solos tend to provide necessary wonder-off qualities from the rough’n’tough nature of Ironsword riffing.

As if I have not given you examples throughout, if you revere Manilla Road (and, by the way, Mark Shelton contributes backing vocals on three tracks), miss old Omen, decry the recent fortunes of Twisted Tower Dire, want Cauldron Born to be more manly, are familiar with and like Canadians Antiquus and Greeks Battleroar, I could not recommend Ironsword enough.

Killing Songs :
And Ending in Fire, Overlords of Chaos, Fear the Night
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Ironsword that we have reviewed:
Ironsword - Return of the Warrior reviewed by Mike and quoted 80 / 100
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