celtic acid rock?
Iron Mountain are an highly original instrumental group based in Limerick City in Ireland. On ‘Unum’ they have created a unique debut album of five sprawling tracks that although reminisent of bands like Mogwai, Low and Planxty actually don’t really sound like them at all. Now I can’t pretend to know much about this style of music so I just have to go on my gut instinct and see how it goes. Iron Mountain themselves describe their music as
“taking elements of post-rock, Irish folk music and kraut-rock to form an energetic sound that is all their own and an embellishment on the members varied musical backgrounds”
The band consists of your usual rock instruments of bass, drums, guitar but they wouldn’t be appearing on 30492-London Celtic Punks if they weren’t accompanied by the uilleann pipes, flute and violin, as well as a whole host of guest appearances ranging from the saxophone to synthesizers to the native American Indian flute. Matt Bashford and Ronan Ryan hold ten All-Ireland medals for their respective instruments on uilleann pipes and flute and their expertise shines through throughout ‘Unum’. The album was written, produced and recorded in Limerick and the production is crystal clear.
Despite being only five tracks long ‘Unum’ clocks in at fifty minutes and ‘Bonfires’ the opening song is a perfect example of the Iron Mountain sound. At just under ten minutes long the slow build up has you thinking where is it going and waiting for the crash and when it comes you will be blown away. The brilliant piping is accompanied by the whole band and ‘Bonfires’ eventually builds to a full-on celtic-rock climax that wil have you on the edge of your seat. ‘Enthralldom’ carries on in much the same way, as does in fact the whole album, and again at just under ten minutes builds to a cresendo of celticness riding atop some quality stoner rock.
‘Blitz’ is Iron Mountains shortest song at just under six minutes and flute dominates while heads down thrashing guitar and distortion also compete. Penultimate song ‘Pow Pow’ has a much slower start and throughout the flute also soars until guitar kicks in and half way through the song takes off before slowing right down again at the end. The final track ‘Opium’ is another epic at nearly a quarter of an hour long and shows Iron Moutain at their absolute best with the music soaring and their Irish influence dictating the pace of the song.
The video for ‘Opium’ was filmed at the Franciscan Friary in their home town of Limerick and the beautiful setting fits perfectly with the mammoth sound of Iron Mountain’s music.
The heavy sound of the rock instruments doesn’t hide their folk tradition and its fantastic to hear Irish/celtic music being adapted and changed to fit in with modern times. As I stated before I don’t know too much about this style of music but I do know what I like and I like Iron Mountain. Each and every play will find you bewitched and finding more and more inside the music to love and enjoy.
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Tagged: Iron Mountain, Low, Mogwai, Planxty
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