A Beast Within by Iron WalrusRelease date: December 15, 2017
Label: Redfield Records
Like an unholy melding of Crowbar and Saint Vitus, Germany’s Iron Walrus combine sludge and doom with stunningly intense results. From the rumbling glory of their 2014 debut album Insidious Black Sea and its follow up the next year The Plague, it was obvious that Iron Walrus were ones to watch. Their riff led and heavy as steel sound that was demonstrated on their first two albums, sounds even better on A Beast Within, the brilliant offering from the band.
They waste no time in declaring their love of the riff as an ominous guitar squeal transforms into a gargantuan groove on opening song ‘Crawling’ as Iron Walrus declare themselves back in a big way. With this opening salvo, the areas that they are known for are all in place, the monstrous riffs, rolling grooves that are at times mammoth slow and just as heavy but still energetic and the huge sounding growled vocals and it sounds glorious. These elements carry on throughout the album as it takes in the intensity of ‘Take Care’ (with its massive hardcore groove, hypnotic riffs and an epic solo in there for good measure too), the mesmerising heaviness of ‘Abyssal’ and the tribal and upbeat vibe of ‘Control’ and despite each of these songs sounding different, they all are undeniably Iron Walrus and all are undeniably heavy.
That heaviness continues with ‘No More Reason’, but this is a track that slows down the pace even further and the results are like Wolverine Blues era Entombed going full on doom (or more precisely the Entombed magnificent cover of Roky Erickson & The Aliens ‘Night Of The Vampire’) and the song is as inspiring as that sounds, a monolithic track that will resonate fully with any lover of doom.
That crushing mid pace continues with ‘Ghost’, which thunders through at a sludgey crawl before the faster ‘Fools’ adds another layer to A Beast Withins sound, amping up the energy levels tremendously (and featuring another great guitar solo, something the band have in spades on the album) before the whole sludge doom masterclass commences with possibly the best thing on the album, ‘Drowning’. This is a song that starts much as the album started with an ominous and macabre opening before samples from the 1956 film adaptation of Moby Dick come into play, setting the scene for a fittingly apocalyptic ending. This instrumental is a gargantuan helping of an instrumental with crushing riffs, chilling soundscapes and those samples creating an epic way to finish A Beast Within off.
With this album, Iron Walrus have raised the bar with their sludge and doom hybrid as they demonstrate exactly what they are capable of as a musical force and long may they continue doing this.