"Black Night"

(Shadow Kingdom)

01. Choices
02. The Liar
03. Black Night
04. Leaving Town
05. Life After Death
06. Life's Toll
07. A Child's Future
08. Vampires
09. Time For Change
10. Why Can't You See Me?

RATING: 8/10

If your first thought in reading the name of the band was BLACK SABBATH, then affix a gold star to your lapel, as your thought was most relevant. Straight out of the fertile Maryland doom community, IRON MAN was formed in 1988 by guitarist Alfred Morris III as a BLACK SABBATH cover band. The group then began composing original songs, ultimately signing to Germany's Hellhound Records and releasing debut album "Black Night" in 1993 (later re-released on vinyl by Japan's Leaf Hound Records). Appropriately enough, Shadow Kingdom Records has reissued the album with a new mastering job and liner notes.

Fans of not only Ozzy-era BLACK SABBATH, but also D.C.-area doom in general are strongly urged to check this one out, as it is a spirited, memorably written album with some absolutely spine tingling riffing from Alfred Morris III and a vocal style from Rob Levey that crosses Ozzy with Wino. The rhythm section of bassist Larry Brown and Ron Kalimon is just as important to conveying that sense of earthiness Much of the BLACK SABBATH sounding material is heard during the album's first half with songs like "Choices" centered on the "Master of Reality" era with smidgeons of "Vol. IV" heard elsewhere, such as on "The Liar". Unsurprisingly, Morris' solos are of the Iommi School and are as electrifyingly soulful as the riffs. As you move through the album, you'll hear a slightly more distinctive style, starting with the chorus of the title track, followed by the doomy rock 'n roll of "Leaving Town", which also features a notable middle section of psychedelic lava flow, "Life after Death", and "Time for Change". Just as often the reference points are THE OBSESSED, PENTAGRAM, and SAINT VITUS, especially on "Life's Toll" and "A Child's Future". No big shock there.

Outside of hardcore doom circles, most folks probably don't even realize the sheer number of quality bands that came out of the D.C. area. IRON MAN is certainly one of those bands. You can't go wrong with an album like "Black Night". It just feels right.


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