Local magazines are already calling Denmark-based progressive metal band IOTUNN the new hope for the country’s scene, and after hearing their new EP “The Wizard Falls,” you can count Metal On Loud among them. Proggy, moody, and heavy, IOTUNN are bringing something a little different to their local scene and metal as a whole. It’s easy to generalize and lump progressive bands all into the same group, but doing that in this case would be a mistake. With their debut release, IOTUNN offers a little something for everyone. Fans of thrash, death, and heavy metal in general should take note!
IOTUNN is fronted by bassist and vocalist Benjamin Jensen, who does a great job of differentiating himself from other artists in the genre through his standout performance on “The Wizard Falls.” Vocals from Jensen are high, soaring, and serve as the forefront of IOTUNN’s melodic yet heavy sound. Shouts and growls are also present, which help to bolster the harsher side of the band’s sound. Opening title track “The Wizard Falls” is an excellent example of this, with clean vocals dominating for a while until some wonderfully abrasive growls come through towards the end of the song. It’s a nice surprise that helps to establish the somewhat bipolar personality of the EP.
Jensen’s singing again shines in the catchy choruses of “Hammer of Injustice,” which in my mind serves as the more classic-sounding heavy metal anthem of the EP. Still, the track sounds fresh and original. The heavy churn of the down-tuned rhythm guitar palm-mutes its way through what increasingly becomes a hard-hitting track despite its choruses and melody. Lead guitar is strong and prominent as well. It’s always nice to hear creative riffs and solos accentuate an already compelling sonic experience. The bass department is on the skimpier side with this release, but along with the other guitars, does a sufficient job in rounding out the lower section of the sound.
I was particularly taken with the drumming heard from sticksman Bjørn and was delighted to see on IOTUNN’s website that he has a jazz background and draws influence from Genesis’ Phil Collins to produce his trademark swarming sound. In the track “Given to Explore,” this can heard quite well – especially during the moody break towards the middle of the song in which the drummer is given some refreshing prominence. The snare and cymbal work heard there is truly excellent and helps to produce the brooding, yet frantic atmosphere that seems to emanate from IOTUNN’s music.
“The Wizard Falls” was a great surprise to me for a few reasons – first of all, it’s not often that a budding band produces such strong work on their first release and I’m not at all familiar with any bands coming out of Denmark. IOTUNN changed that for me and I’m glad they did! I certainly enjoyed their very eclectic and musically proficient EP and will be looking forward to more.
Release date: 18-02-2016
Reviewer: Chase Lindley