By Dr. Abner Mality

Except for our buddy Old Nick, there's no hoarier or more overused lyrical subject in metal than the legend of King Arthur and his magic sword. Let me state right now, I've always loved the Arthurian tales and that John Boorman's "Excalibur" (which is clearly the inspiration here) is one of my favorite movies. But Arthur as a metal lyrical subject is as stale as it gets. How do British doomsters Iron Void overcome this royal stumbling block?

Incredibly enough, they do it with sheer earnestness. There's nothing on "Excalibur" that hasn't been done before...not just once, but many times. Yet somehow these guys believe in the subject so much and are so determined to do it homage, that their good intentions are transferred to the listener. This is pure medieval doom that perfectly matches its subject matter. The riffs are like old friends you are happy to see again. And they still get the job done. "Lancelot of the Lake" charges forth with majesty much like its namesake while "Forbidden Love" grinds along darkly, portending the evil that is to befall Britain. The vocals are average and even thin, but again, the earnestness of the singer wins the day. He sounds like he could be a bard of days of yore.

On the whole, Iron Void sounds like they are following in the hallowed traditions of Pagan Altar, Cathedral and Angelwitch. Everything sounds as it should. That's no small thing in these days when falseness usually carries the day. "Excalibur" is a well worn road, but one still worth taking. Just keep an eye out for The Knights Who Say "Ni" and killer rabbits...