Poles Ironbound would appear indeed to be bound to the Iron Maiden way of doing things; Opening track The Witch Hunt – which follows more of a Euro power metal path – aside, these Rybnik rockers are dedicated to extracting the very last flecks of juice from the DNA of the East Londoners and remoulding and remaking the resultant sound for their own purposes. I’ll leave you to decide whether that’s a good or bad thing, but the undeniable fact is The Lightbringer is a rip roaring romp through the Steve Harris playbook whichever side of the argument you fall to.
Smoke And Mirrors, four tracks in, is perhaps the album in microcosm, and certainly the best representation of how they go about their business. In six minutes and fifty two seconds they meld the early Bruce period, the proto-prog Maiden of Fear of the Dark and the post-reformation darkness of the later albums into one easily-digestible gobbet of galloping metal glory. There’s no doubting these guys are deadly serious about what they do, and in the end you find your resolution to view this album as a cold, cynical reviewer/listener crumbling as the urge to put your foot up on the coffee table and start air guitaring furiously takes hold. They may be genuinely serious about all this, but there’s also a joie de vivre about the way Ironbound celebrate the NWoBHM that is absolutely impossible to resist.
If you’re looking for a point of reference away from the Irons, then the more recent, heavied-up work of Sweden’s Mean Streak is a pretty positive match, but Ironbound are really only looking at one God over the course of this record, whereas Andy Le Guerin and company worship at a few more altars… but there’s still not a lot between the bands in terms of the excitement they’ll generate if you still wear a battle jacket without any hint of irony.
Guitarists Michał Halamoda and Krzysztof Całka cut a powerful figure as they riff heroically on the Prisoneresque Children Left By God, whilst bassist Zbigniew Bizoń clanks away underneath like you know who, and if drummer Adam Całka just lacks the swing of Burr and the bombast of McBrain then he still drives the band on admirably from the back as Łukasz Krauze wails away over the top; Once the track fades away into the ether there’s a fair chance you’ll find yourself wishing that Maiden themselves would come up as something as punchy and direct as this in 2021 – well I did, at least!
Great stuff then, and if you’re a Maiden fan of any description I think you should give this a spin at least once – they deserve your attention! And if you just like old fashioned metal well played with a heroic attention to detail, this might just be what you’ve been waiting for as well. Get stuck in!
The Lightbringer releases on April 30th.