It is fair to say that genres are not being re-invented or boundaries pushed with the Strike & Ravage EP from Finnish metallers Ironclad, but equally it is very easy to declare the release as one extremely enjoyable and undemanding yet commanding slab of heavy metal. Like Motorhead does power metal with the classic respective attributes of Exodus and Iron Maiden adding strong aggression to the mix, release and band makes for an extremely satisfying confrontation. It is not without elements which labour a little but as an invigorating encounter it is a very easy fit for the emotions.
Released via Violent Journey Records, Strike & Ravage immediately turns heat onto the ear with the entrance of the title track. The opener is a blaze of melodic endeavour and flames from the off, the guitar of Duke Belmont a sonic sabre across sturdy riffs and sinew bursting rhythms, and once the Lemmy like delivery of vocalist Edward Steelgun unleashes his gravelly growl the track is in full stride and drawing an eager appetite for its persuasive charge and riotous folk metal like chorus. The bass of Dick Wolfgang prowls through the track without leaping at the ear but alongside the rhythms of Thorborg Bomber provides the intimidation and shadows needed to temper and compliment the burning guitar causticity. It is a straightforward attack yet one which ignites the imagination with a pleasing raw stomp which only leaves you wanting more.
Its successor comes in the equally rapacious form of Harder Than Steel, another track which simply snarls and rampages through the ears with recognisable but richly satisfying endeavour and resourcefulness. A contagious groove spears the track, a thrash cored incendiary device that leaves limbs, neck, and emotions alive before its arguably predictable but undoubtedly anthemic temptation. As good as the starter was, the second song on the EP is a masterful recruitment of the passions, the kind of expectations filling bruising you can easily devour with greed.
The following Warriors is less successful, though again a song which is well crafted and delivered. It is a mixed bag of success though it is more personal tastes dictating than a lacking on the song’s part. The heavy throaty bass stalking is immense throughout whilst the predatory riff attacks only spark a belt of pleasure but tempering their potency is the atmospheric keys brewed ambience and slow drawl of a vocal narrative which diminishes the power of all the highlights of the track. It is the most imaginative and adventurous song on Strike & Ravage but least successful because of that, though for others you can only imagine it is the opposite.
The closing Demon Heart returns to the snarling ravaging of the first two tracks, its carnivorous intent and storm of voracious riffery a brawling pleasure. The rhythms within the track are rabidly unrelenting alongside riffs which persistently taunt the ear whilst the vocals bring a good blend of scathing and harmonic venture to enhance the force of the track. With another groove to incite a lustful appetite, the song is a thrilling conclusion to a rather satisfying encounter.
As mentioned the Strike & Ravage EP is not going to set scenes alight or leave the listener slack-jawed but for a turbulent sprawl of honest rock ‘n’ roll, Ironclad get the job done with an obligingly eventful and rousing riot.
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