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Metal and Prog Tops Countdown (introduction)

In this blog we will try to present the top 21 albums of each year in metal, rock and prog music, going backwards from 2015 to the past. ...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

#5 - Top of 2016

Ironwood - Well and Tree (Independent)

In number 5 of the top 2016 albums, we have the third full length from a very intriguing less known progressive outfit, Ironwood. Ironwood play a breed of prog rock with heavy metal, folk and black metal elements mixed throughout, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable, innovative and thought provoking album, truly worthy of a place among the top 5 of last year. The album kicks off with "Song of Mimir" that starts with a whisper of wind and develops to a progressive metal orgasm with a truly inspirational riff, which  stands out as a testament to the abilities of these guys. The second song "Solace in Memory" starts with a mix of Fates Warning and blastbeats (!) and evolves in a beautiful progressive heavy metal folk piece with influences ranging from the aforementioned prog giants to the folk heaviness of bands like Primordial. Especially noteworthy is the acoustic passages that tie the composition together and fuse these elements in a true epic of modern heavy music. The third song "Sanctuary" is very mellow, offsetting the blasting first two compositions and starting with an acoustic passage mixed with forest sounds with mellow choral vocals coming in around the 3 minute mark. "Flowing Through" acts as a natural continuation of Sanctuary with music veering towards a more folk-oriented sound (bordering on epicness) coupled with, again, amazing guitar work, and closing out with dynamic blastbeats which complement the composition and lead into "The Glorious Tree", a song starting out with vocals within the Avant-Garde Black Metal genre with a falsetto leading into a blastbeat attack and a guitar based extravaganza. This is a very experimental composition with a host of different music themes changing throughout and aggressiveness alternating  with serenity and quiet mysticism. The final song "Origin" starts slowly with a catchy acoustic riff and as it evolves through its twists and turns, it provides "Well and Tree" with a balanced and emotional way to temporarily fade out, until next time...
If you can only listen to one thing from 2016, listen to this!




96/100

Below is the full album from Bandcamp. Listen to it and support the band!


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