Finishing off their three date promotional tour (including Dundee’s Hordes Of Belial festival) for their self-titled EP Iron Altar don’t waste any time when they take to the hometown stage. The quintet get stuck straight into their short set of stoner doom excellence. It’s a while since I’ve seen any metal bands in Edinburgh although Bannerman’s has shows on all the time but, having seen a number abroad over the summer, it’s clear that these guys are ideally suited for the likes of Incubate or early on the bill at Into The Grave, such is the tightness of their performance and the obvious bond they have as a functioning unit.
They fully own the performance space, engage with the audience &, other than a slightly clunky instrumental passage during their second song, tracks such as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Blood Rain’ deliver everything in terms of aggression, weighty riffs and frenetic drumming. Metal of all sorts may be in a position where the ageing stadium-filling acts are never equalled in terms of popularity or sales but Iron Altar are at the forefront of the talented new breed of bands taking the genre onwards and keeping the faith. With songs of this quality it’s to be hoped that a full-length release isn’t too long in coming.
Tonight’s main acts both hail from Liverpool. The Bendal Interlude make a good Sabbath-meets-hardcore sound & liven things up further with good use of samples. Difficult though to tell if that Cliff Richard shirt their singer was sporting was ironic or not. Iron Witch give vent to a lot of angst with suitably absorbing riffs to match but often the middle passages of their songs passed off rather pedestrian. The crowd were obviously aware of what to expect, however, so they got the biggest reaction of the night and inspired a good bit of movement. Both bands are further clear proof of the healthy state of metal in the UK today.