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IRON VOID - Excalibur

Release date May 25/18 (Shadow Kingdom)

The U.K. are the unquestioned leaders for delivering top shelf doom metal. Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Cathedral and Solstice being some of the best sub-woofer damaging bands hailing from Britain. Now you can add Iron Void to that list.

This third full length, a concept album about "strange women lying in ponds distributing swords", has a guitar sound that has to be heard to be believed. Rumbling, molten perfection, the rhythm section and down-tuned riffs deliver body blows (kidney pads optional). Oaken riffage out of the early Sabbath playbook, including mid-section change-ups, is the order of day here. Friggin' fantastic.

Selecting best tracks is difficult given that every track works well, insidiously working its charms as its lumbering majesty gets pounded into your cranium, over and over again. The only slight criticism I could provide is that a few more up-tempo tracks/sections would have elevated this into the world of the sublime. Excalibur joins the ranks of Solstice's White Horse Hill and Candlemass' House Of Doom jockeying for best traditional doom metal release of 2018, two of which are from the U.K. - no surprise there.

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