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BLOOD AND IRON – Dynamite World

  • Review by: Madhav R

Winners at Kingfisher Kerala Rocks, Winners at IITC Armageddon, finalists at NLS Strawberry Fields 2008 and IIT Saarang 2009, the list of laurels go on and on. With 2 albums to their name and several massive gigs across India in just 4 years of their existence, it’s easy to see why Blood And Iron is one of India’s premier metal bands today.

Dynamite World is the band’s second album after their 2007 self-titled debut album and it doesn’t disappoint. 6 solid, heavy metal songs spread over a little more than half an hour, attacking concepts such as politics, dark fantasies and human impulses all sounds like a delicious treat for the listener.

“Promised Land”, the first song on the album begins with Arabic verses sung like a holy prayer, taking the listener to a desolate desert with nomadic tribes roaming the sand dunes around them. Mark’s vocals are powerful, executed to perfection and the guitar solo is impressive.

A little more than 6 minutes after the opening strains of “Promised Land” comes “In Darkness.” This song, without a doubt gets my pick as the best song on the album. Starting with an acoustic intro, leading into distorted guitars and chord-heavy keyboards, the song defines the band’s music in the best way possible. The vocal melodies gets you hooked on in an instant, and the heavy riffs backed with crazy drumming gives you a great heavy metal song, right up there with the best.

The next song, “The Altar” is one I have seen Blood And Iron play live so many times before. Played live, the song sounds heavy, energetic and packs a powerful punch but on the album, it was probably the weakest song. The recording quality especially towards the end of the song was scratchy and the power, energy and passion that I’ve come to associate with the song was completely lacking, making it sound too mechanical and emotionless.

One of the defining characteristics of Blood And Iron are the heavy use of keyboards and the next song, “Unleash The Beast” is a testimony to that. The song starts with strains of thunder in the foreground as the soft, melodic keyboard intro filters through. Mark’s vocals sound very “eighties”, which by no means is a bad thing but over distorted, aggressive riffs, it doesn’t quite find it’s right place. Still, a very good song, ending on a high note with the entire band taking the song to a mighty crescendo.

Street noises and mob screams introduce “Anarchy,” the next track on the album. This is another song I’ve watched live several times at B&I gigs. Clocking at 6:32mins, this is a straight-out, no strings attached heavy metal track, with the drummer stealing the show.

The intro of the title track “Dynamite World,” also the last song of the album sends a message out every India metal fan out there. A message that is expressed not with words, but in the form of heavy, aggressive riffs. It says, “We are here, start listening.” Reminiscent of the great thrash metal bands of yesteryear, the intro proceeds to wallop you in the stomach and blow your brains out for safe measure. The song is fast, heavy and has all the elements of a classic heavy metal song. The chorus has you singing along and as the song rolls to a crushing end, you feel the need for more.. The keyboard solos sound folksy at times but it doesn’t hamper the music in any way.

Having said all this, the album does have its fair share of turn-offs too. Although the music is great, the recording quality is a big letdown. The guitar tones sound extremely compressed and some of the lead guitars licks are lost in the mix. The vocals are drowned out in parts with the lyrics being terribly unclear, and the drumming is but a shadow of how they sound on stage. The keyboards seems to be the center of the mix, which is not a bad thing but it is far too pronounced, taking the emphasis off from the rest of the band. I’d have expected a band of B&I’s caliber to dedicate a little more (or maybe a little less) time on mastering and production the album.

Nevertheless, a good effort by a good band. If you like good, solid heavy metal, B&I is your best bet. Nothing more to say.