Iron Man

Generation Void

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Maryland-spawned doom titans Iron Man seemed to drop off the face of the earth after their first two albums, 1993's Black Night and 1994's The Passage, shook the heavy metal world by the scruff of its neck and forced it to bang any head that didn't already bang, as Metallica would have put it. With little rhyme or reason, all of five years would elapse until the group's return to activity via 1999's Generation Void LP, squandering any upward momentum Iron Man might have attained, but belatedly proving that they remained a force to be reckoned with when they actually showed up. So let's take it from the top: most fans and critics would agree that Iron Man's strengths always lay in energized doom templates, and the latest songs cut from that cloth on this album, such as "On the Mountain," "Boston Strangler," and "As the Gods Have Spoken," definitely didn't disappoint this time around, either. At the same time, less orthodox new offerings like "Forever Yours" and "Shadows of Darkness" continued to broaden Iron Man's creative resources with leaner heavy metal styles (the N.W.O.B.H.M., for example) and rock-based qualities, revealing that the intervening years of inactivity didn't elapse without some sonic transformation. In fact, stately metal ballads like "Winds of Change" and the album's title track recalled classic mid-‘70s efforts by Judas Priest like "Beyond the Realms of Death" (with the added benefit of Morris' transcendent soloing), and, alongside tougher numbers like "Survivor" and "King of Kings," which could very well have passed for Stained Class outtakes, they qualified Generation Void as the first Iron Man album where the band's deep-seated Black Sabbath influences were dethroned by another band's. But, given the typically strong material that resulted, there was little cause for complaint, especially from Iron Man's long deprived fan base, which would amazingly have to put up with another Rip Van Winkle-like ten years before getting their gauntlets on the band's fourth studio album, 2010's I Have Returned.

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