Iron Griffin – “Curse Of The Sky” (Gates Of Hell Records)
Well, if you thought that multi-instrumentalist Oskari Räsänen (who’s also the drummer for Mausoleum Gate) was onto something with his one man heavy metal band when he released his EP two years ago , then prepare yourselves for the wonders of this full blown affair! Taking stock and now expanded to include the astounding vocals of Maija Tiljander, “Curse Of The Sky” is 7 stirring numbers of epic proportions influenced by 70s proto metal, folk and hard rock and rooted in fantasy, swords and sorcery with some medieval twists. Recorded by Räsänen, who even took a bus and his portable recording equipment to track the demo with Tiljander, there is a highly organic sound that simply oozes 70s atmosphere from the prominent bass to the musty church organs and no effects natural guitar. Over it all come Tiljander’s superb vocals that resonate not only her incredible range but her breathaking siren-esque power like a valkyrie riding over scores of warriors on a battlefield. The in the main low tempo of the music, which has a slight melancholia to it, allows all the emotion and passion from Tiljander’s captivating vocals to really grab you right from the start in ‘Reign Of Thunder’, with its flowing medieval melodies and mesmerising crescendo wails of ‘..only the strongest will survive..from the anger of the gods..’ right through to the more upbeat ‘Dawn Of Struggle’ with its galloping bass and raw background guitar reminiscent of Maiden – until Tiljander’s spectacular femme soul dispels any notion of Bruce Dickinson even attempting to step in her place ha ha! I have to give every credit to both Räsänen and Tiljander for pulling this awesome musical experience off no better exemplified than by the 7 minute closer ‘To The Path Of Glory’, with its gentle guitar, delicate flute and folk harmonies slowly building the power through an epic doom style as Tiljander wails in so passionately, followed by increasingly heavier bass, harder drum work, and of course, that all possessive church organ! An album to be listened to from start to finish, and for anyone appreciating Räsänen’s vision, that will happen all by itself anyway…..simply irresistible.