IRON HEARSE (Get In The Hearse) CD
Back in 2006, Gallipoli Records sent me a promo copy of IRON HEARSE's self-titled debut album and I really liked what I've heard. It was some sort of doom-driven heavy rock with influences from bands such as Budgie and The Obsessed - to give just some examples. Definitely the kind of music, that could've been released by Hellhound Records 20 years ago. Meanwhile, Gallipoli Records went out of business, but IRON HEARSE is still alive and 'Get In The Hearse' is their self-released 2013 album. Before that they released a split 7" single with Leather Nun America and a 12" EP as well, so that this is their second album. But as we all know, good things come to those who wait.
Well, perhaps IRON HEARSE should have taken more time to record this album, because the biggest shortcoming is the musty, blurry production. There is a lack of vigor and sometimes it seems to me as if I would listen to a demo that hasn't been recorded very well. This is a great shame, because some songs are really good. In their best moments, IRON HEARSE comes across like a tasteful mix of Orange Goblin and later The Obsessed. They have a good sense of melody, both in the vocals as well as in some very catchy guitar hooks. The groove is just as important as the riff and somtimes they combine it with some punk rock energy. Very often Grant Powell (vocals, guitar) adds some nice, bluesy guitar solos to the songs what makes them more emotional.
Unlike Orange Goblin vocalist Ben Ward, Powell's vocal style is less raucous but cleaner and more natural. I think that fits very well to the songs, even if he isn't the most talented singer under the sun. But that doesn't matter in IRON HEARSE's case. In all, listening to 'Get In The Hearse', I hear a band that has endless passion for the fun and craft of heavy music. In spite of my criticism, I believe that they deserve more attention than the next brainless "occult doom rock" band that has nothing more to offer than a pronounced freeloader behaviour. By the way, 'Get In The Hearse' comes with a glossy, oversized LP style sleeve. Nice!