Saturday 10 February 2024

Ironleaf - Ironleaf (Album Review)

Release Date: 19th January 2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Ironleaf - Tracklisting

1.Electric God 03:41

2.Eternal 04:05

3.We Fall Down 04:05

4.Barren Lands 05:10

5.Come Down 03:01

6.Solar Summer 03:40

7.The Last Grain of Sand 04:46


Kevin Hartnell

Guest Appearances

Mark Engel (Hermano, Orquesta del Desierto) - lead and rhythm guitars on Electric God

Andrew May (The Three Minstrels) - lead and rhythm guitars on Solar Summer

Michael Carta - lead guitar on end solo on Solar Summer

Vic Bonato (V1CTOR, Cambium) - bass guitar on Solar Summer


Ironleaf is the new creative project from Kevin Hartnell, a musician and producer from Cincinnati, Ohio. Kevin is also part of famed underground Doom/Stoner Rockers THAL and the owner of Overbrook Records. So Kevin knows a thing or two about the Doom/Stoner Rock scene and how to play a solid mean riff which he proves time and time again with Ironleaf’s excellent self titled release.

The album has a classic Hard Rock/Heavy Rock sound which works superbly well the more aggressive Doom/Stoner Metal flavours that Ironleaf play with a more dominant force. You can hear influences from bands such as Black Sabbath, QOTSA, Alice In Chains, and KYUSS but that only tells half of the story with Kevin working with some of his friends from the underground scene on certain tracks of the album. You have folks like Mark Engel (Hermano), Andrew May (The Three Minstrels), Michael Carta and Vic Bonato playing some wicked grooves on various tracks on the album.

The whole album captures a certain time frame of the Hard Rock, Stoner Rock and Heavy Rock scene starting from the 1970’s Doom Metal scene right upto the mid 2000’s killer Stoner Rock scene. You have all the meaty Classic Rock hooks that even swings into areas of Blues Rock and Psych Rock. Ironleaf captures that vivid creative energy within the first three tracks of the album alone with Electric God, Eternal and We Fall Down being quite catchy and instantly melodic whilst showcasing areas of downright aggression.

Ironleaf do explore more areas of classic Heavy Metal from the kick-ass fourth track Barren Lands which is perhaps the most Doom Metal inspired track on the album with a solid Grunge aesthetic appearing within the vocals and subtle atmospherics that take centre stage.

The other standout tracks on the album for me are Solar Summer and The Last Grain Of Sand which sees Ironleaf play to Kevin’s creative strengths as both a musician, vocalist and lyricist though Solar Summer is more a team effort with Andrew, Michael and Vic playing certain instrumental moments of the track.

Ironleaf’s debut album is a welcome addition to the Doom/Stoner Rock community with solid production values that allows the record to have quite a dominant presence from start to finish.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe