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|3.3 great||manosg STAFF | March 30th 19|
Even though their self-titled EP revealed very few virtues, Curse of the Sky is a fine slab of proto-metal with a strong epic flavor. The bare-bones instrumentation brings to mind Pentagram and Pagan Altar with a few hints of Blood on Ice-era Bathory, while the lyrics look like they have been taken from Conan the Barbarian or Manowar?s Into Glory Ride. The performance of multi-instrumentalist Oskari Räsänen (also Mausoleum Gate), albeit sufficient, is the least impressive element here. The focus is on the solid songwriting, the hazy production which provides a sense of obscurity and, most of all, new vocalist Maija Tiljander. She is the main reason that Iron Griffin?s debut is a much improved affair compared to the aforementioned EP, even though, admittedly, she has a tendency to go over the top sometimes. Nonetheless, she is perfect for this style of epic proto-metal with lyrics regarding swords and sorcery, battles, and tales of valor. The vintage production makes Curse of the Sky sound genuinely like a forgotten cult album from the time of Heavy Load, Brocas Helm and Gotham City. However, where the album fails to impress is on the guitar-playing, which apart from a few great acoustic passages that provide a well-suited medieval flavor, much work is needed; Curse of the Sky would benefit greatly from better solos, improved playing and certainly much more punch.
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