02 I AM THE CLAY
03 THE PRODIGAL
05 SRI LANKA
06 FIRM FOUNDATIONS
07 BREAKING TIES
Although Ironwill’s sound has been described as metalcore, the foundation of their sound rests more in hardcore punk than anything else. The drumming is excellent, featuring very fast-paced chugging beats reminiscent of Comeback Kid and other punk-based bands while the fills are definitely less angry beating found in metalcore/hardcore and more smooth and flowing. The guitar-work is definitely less intense than the hardcore records coming out these days, with creative riffs that don’t take place on the lowest sounding part of the guitar, no open, drop-D strumming, no repetitive palm-mutes to match the double-kick, just simplistic riffing to keep the mood a little less dark. There are breakdowns throughout Unturned, but none that involve bass-drops or over-the-top tribal beating, just clean simple change-of-pace sections. After the instrumental track (#5 Sri Lanka) things slow down a bit, unfortunately, and begin to sound generic.
In fact, the only aspect of the band that really separates Ironwill from bands like Comeback Kid, With Honor, Close Your Eyes is the strained vocals and lack of clean vocals and gang vocals. The vocals are very strained, and blend of yelling and screaming, that comes off a little too intense and out-of-place for the rest of the sound. Probably the best comparison would be the vocal styles of Shai Hulud, in fact, there are quite a few of comparisons between Ironwill and Shai Hulud. Theme-wise the songs range from pleas for guidance from God “pour Your spirit into me; beathe the breath of life into my lungs.” (“I Am the Clay”) to critical introspective songs like “The Prodigal”: “I am the worst child that a father could ask for. Oh God, please forgive me for what everything that I have done.”
OVERALL: Ironwill’s Unturned will appeal to older fans who enjoyed fast melodic hardcore during the turn of the century, but the younger-generation of fans who enjoy dance-beats, screams, breakdowns, and an over-abundance of double-bass this won’t do the trick. Blood & Ink Records are having a great run of releases, bands that are focused on making passionate faith-based hardcore and leaving the gimmicks at the door. Ironwill is welcome addition to an already impressive roster at B&I.