Published Sep 19, 2018Dylan Gowan seems like a busy man. Aside from pulling double duty in Vesperia and with indie rockers Birds of Bellwoods, he's found time to create Iomair. The project treads the line between folk (courtesy of Volür violinist Laura Bates) and that oh-so-European power-death metal style pioneered by In Flames in the '90s. Prepare your helmets and giant wooden shields, we might be heading into Viking territory.
Luckily, we don't. There's actually a lot more here then meets the eye. The jaw-dropping surprise is "Yearning," which starts out as a Kensington Market café jam and builds into an arena-ready rock anthem. Sure it's a bit cheesy, but that comes with the territory, and it fits in perfectly.
There are other hidden goodies elsewhere as well. "By Design" drifts between Lamb of God, Gogol Bordello and jazz in its six-minute runtime, and "Embodiment of Emptiness" plays around with progressive time signatures throughout. Where things sometimes stumble is on the production front. Here, Iomair threatens to collapse under the weight of its own multi-instrumentation. It's not a dealbreaker, just the result of an ambitious first release.
The lineup reads like a rundown of Toronto's metal scene. Aside from Gowan and Bates, we have singer Sam Astaroth of Astaroth Incarnate and Morgan Rider (vocalist/bassist of Gowan's other band, Vesperia). There's a lot of potential on this debut. Take notice. (Infamous Butcher)