From Medellin, Colombia, Iron Command have recently released their debut album, the appropriately titled ‘Play It Loud.’ Distribution is being handled through France’s Inferno Records, so this album is actually not as much of an obscurity as one might think. Iron Command are a five-piece act boasting no fewer than three women in their ranks, including singer Paola Martinez, guitarist Carolina Guiroga, and bassist Claudia Yepes. I mention this fact not because it matters in evaluating the album’s quality (it doesn’t), but because it’s cool as hell to see women headbangers picking up guitars and basses and rocking alongside their male brethren. Gender barriers do not belong in metal any more than any other sort of barriers do, and Iron Command are proving the point, loud and proud. ‘Play It Loud’ features many endearing qualities. There’s the obvious love and passion that Iron Command have poured into their craft. There’s the way the music crisscrosses effortlessly between trad metal and speed metal, sort of like the way Warlock did back on the ‘Burning the Witches’ album three decades ago (or even early Running Wild, for that matter). There’s Paola Martinez’s slightly hoarse but totally honest and sincere vocal delivery, which sounds more than a little like a young Doro Pesch (check out the track “Rush Slaves” for a perfect example of what I mean). There’s the simple but catchy songwriting, the barebones but quite acceptable production job, and those timeless riffs that you simply never get tired of hearing. Even the cover artwork warms the heart, a low-budget drawing of Iron Command on stage rocking out in front of legions of adoring fans standing on piles of pink skulls. There’s a certain purity of motive, intention and execution here that makes it really easy to pull for Iron Command. For those familiar with the Italian band Sign of the Jackal (signed to High Roller Records), Iron Command could be the long-lost South American cousin of that band, although they lack Sign of the Jackal’s penchant for horror movie themed lyrics. Sure, a Grinch could point out that things are a bit amateurish, naive or undeveloped in places, and that Iron Command’s enthusiasm just might outstrip their abilities at this juncture. But ‘Play It Loud’ is fun, worthwhile listen that definitely put a smile on my face, particularly with the speedier tracks like “Persecution,” “Iron Command,” “Sentence” and “Power Abuse.” I’ll be eager to see this young band’s progress on their sophomore album, whenever it may see the light of day. For now, however, I’m going to take their debut and I’m gonna play it loud!
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~