Review Summary: An expertly conceived, evocative concept album that infuses massive riffs and powerful vocals with a ballsy heavy metal approach.
The expectations towards Small Stone releases remain unchangeable. One can always anticipate a massive-sounding, heavy-on-groove, ballsy stoner metal. This rule also applies to the Albany outfit, Ironweed. Their debut, “Indian Ladder,” combined heavy stoner metal with some grunge and tribal stylings (hence the name of the disc). The songwriting was often devoid of focus though, which resulted in a quite uneven album that comprised of several standout tracks out of which “A Penny For Your Prayers” was arguably the most notable.
“Your World Of Tomorrow” showcases the band's improved approach to song craft, with an abundance of oppressively heavy guitar-driven sections which are reminiscent of their debut. The new disc sounds more cerebral even though the concept of it is dead serious. It revolves around the idea of the government being able to control people by using advanced electronic devices. Although this theme is hardly original, Ironweed manage to handle it with grace delivering fitting lyrics and infusing every track with a somewhat apocalyptic vibe. In fact, the disc has its distinct sombre style that pays tribute to a wide range of artists including both stoner rock and heavy metal acts.
The album's soundscape is obviously very sludge-oriented, yet stylistically it resembles heavy grunge of Alice In Chains origin rather than Kyuss-inspired fuzz rock. The motoric guitar riffs are frequently accompanied with harmonized soloing that, along with a pummeling rhythm section, evokes an apocalyptic vibe in the majority of compositions. Given that, there are some traditonal heavy metal undertones that especially surface in the vocals of Jeff Andrews who delivers a top-notch performance that ranges from seductively melodic to brazen and aggressive.
The first half of the disc is particularly impressive with several high-octane tunes that verge on being classic. “Now Stronger” makes for an amazing opener owing to its brisk pace coupled with a totally anthemic tone. You just can't help, but raise your fists high up in the air to this expertly conceived rocker. “Enduring Snakes” uses more conventional galloping stoner metal riffs to great effect, whereas “And The New Slaves” reveals a more vulnerable side of the band adding some welcome progressive elements to the table. It startlingly contrasts with “Awaken” which is basically a full fledged homage to classic heavy metal artists aside from being the most upbeat track on the disc.
The strengths of “Your World Of Tomorrow” may not be evident from the very get-go. The album certainly requires a number of listens to truly sink in. Once it does so, it immediately becomes apparent that we're dealing with one of the most evocative metal releases of the year.