It’s hard to believe it’s been almost four years since Iron Lamb’s debut left a solid impression on me. The album still gets spun regularly and I still love the raw, punk fuelled rock and roll energy that it unleashes. Quite simply, it’s a fun album at the core. So here we are in 2015 with the first new tunes to come across my review “IN” tray from these Swedes. Now, when I reviewed their debut, The Original Sin, there was no doubt that the legendary Motörhead were an influence. It was an album that was more metal than punk, although the punk drive throughout was undeniably strong. One more thing that stood out for me back then as much as it does now is the vocals from former Repugnant bassist Grga Lindstrom. His Henry Rollins like style certainly adds a little more weight to the punk feel the album conveyed.
From the outset, it’s clear that the band’s sophomore album is more Motörhead influenced than its predecessor. Just listen to the bluesy, swingin’ rock riffs that usher in the opening cut, “One Way Track”. As soon as the rumbling bass line starts pumping and the drums kick in, there’s no doubt that Iron Lamb have shift more towards Motörhead territory this time around. Second guitarist Jens Bäckelin (Martyrdöd, ex-Sanctuary in Blasphemy, Sunday Morning Einsteins) joined prior to the release of their debut which has thickened their sound a touch. But by far the biggest change here is new vocalist Daniel Bragman (ex-Tyrant, Vinterland, The Black) who sounds scarily like Lemmy from Motörhead.
Now, the press release that accompanies the album states that the “old Motörhead feel has not disappeared either”. If anything, it’s stronger than ever before. The overall sound of Fool’s Gold - from the riffs to the overall production and ultimately to Bragman’s raspier vocals -shows the band has gravitated significantly towards what is clearly their biggest musical influence. At times, you could consider them almost ripping off the aforementioned influential band but thankfully there’s just enough variety within ten tracks on offer that just showcases a band playing rock ‘n’ roll. Hmmm, that sounds eerily familiar as well.
There’s a little more simplicity and melody to the Brain Drain era Ramones sounding “Smile Now Cry Later” but none more so than the laid back “Leave Me Be”. Everything about the track points to it as without doubt the band’s biggest departure to date from their signature style. It’s gentle mid tempo beat driven by almost clean sounding guitars takes a backseat to Bragman’s haunting, clean vocals that sound almost like a young Johnny Cash. At the halfway point of the album, it’s as ambitious as it is refreshing. It might not sit well with those who prefer the band to just plough through like a bull in a china shop, but I for one think it’s a welcome change up.
As long as Iron Lamb continue the mix things up and push themselves further to think outside of the box, things should go alright for the group. Even after countless spins, it still takes a little to adjust to Grga’s absence out front as his vocals gave the band a slightly more unique edge. With the band’s strong shift towards Lemmy territory, the line that separates originality versus clone becomes more blurred. Any further shift towards their biggest influence and they risk being labelled unoriginal. Fools’ Gold is equally more mature as it is rougher sounding than their debut. Either a little more variety or a little less sounding like Lemmy et al is welcome in the future but for now, this one will satisfy anyone who likes their rock ‘n’ roll loud and proud.
High Roller Records
More from Iron Lamb