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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
'A Different Game'
Iron Claw first formed in Dumfries, Scotland, just over forty years ago and played some mean heavy doomladen music that was on a par with Black Sabbath. Back then, the band trod the same boards as all the greats, playing iconic venues such as The Mayfair in Newcastle and London's Marquee Club in Wardour Street.
Although their music was never officially released at the time, it has since been heavily bootlegged, and for very good reason. Eventually a compilation of their recorded output was released under an eponymous title in 2009, reaching a younger audience hungry for more than just the classic rock sound.
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With renewed interest in the band from American connoisseur rock music label Ripple Music, three of the original members of the band, Jim Ronnie (guitar), Alex Wilson (bass) and Ian McDougall (drums) reformed and, along with new singer Gordon Brown, signed a deal within months.
Iron Claw have made an album full of honesty and intregrity. The heavy riffs are still there but steer towards a more heavy blues approach. Black Sabbath meets Free, you could say.
Opener 'What Love Left' kicks off in bombastic fashion with a Jimmy Page-esque riff and blows away any cobwebs you might have preconceived. Vocalist Gordon Brown has laboured hard with his rootsy broad voice, which reminds me a lot of Mammoth singer Nicky Moore (also in latterday Samson). In fact, anyone familiar with those Samson albums, 'Before The Storm' and 'Don't Get Mad...Get Even', will rejoice in 'A Different Game'. Imagine those Samson albums with a much grittier riffage and you will get a good idea how Iron Claw sound today.
'Southern Skies' and 'Love Is Blind' slow the pace but are by no means in ballad territory, just setting the right balance throughout the album. This is a highly infectious album and not at all simply the product of some old farts getting back together for old times' sake. These boys mean some mean business. Iron Claw may be playing a different game, but they're onto a winner by playing by their own rules.
Classic rock played in a fresh manner but with guts and feeling. You'll be hard pushed to find anything as real as this. Time to get your Metal paws into Iron Claw.