I'm not sure if IRONWEED have named themselves after the novel by William Kennedy or if they've just smoked some strong grass, but one thing is for sure: the band was born from the ashes of Greatdayforup. 'Indian Ladder' is their debut for Small Stone Records in 2008 and the most notable change in the line-up is the new vocalist Jeff Andrews. His aggressive rough edged vocals fit much better to the huge guitar riffs from Mike Vitali and Ryan Rapp than the ones from their former vocalist Mike Langone. He adds a strong metal vibe to the sludgy metal-laden groove rock of 'Indian Ladder', but even the entire sound is more metal than ever before. IRONWEED have put together an album full of energy and heavy riffs that I can really appreciate, but I would praise this album much more if they had written more songs in the vein like 'Rid the Earth' or the wonderful 'Penny for your Prayers' with its outstanding hookline.
Mostly 'Indian Ladder' is a brutal ride from start to finish and although some of tracks have cool arrangments with unexpected tempo changes, it would've been interesting to hear if they had integrated more melodies here. But if you're lookin for a powerful, bone crunching, pulverizing heavy sound than IRONWEED will satisfy all your needs and it's no mistake to take a look at the lyrics which aren't that bad. I think that 'Indian Ladder' is a solid debut, but I know that their next album will much better. If they write more songs like 'Penny for your Prayers' I will become a huge fan of the band.