Being from a country that is known for their love of hockey and the creators of the godly sweet nectar that is Maple Syrup, comes a Canadian Progressive Metal band that will surely impress. Iomair was founded by drummer/vocalist Dylan Gowan, who wrote the self-titled album ‘Iomair’ as a way to cope with the personal challenges he faced in 2017. The other members that make up this monstrous melodic band are Sam Astaroth (Vocals), Gabriel Bateman (Bass, Vocals), guitarists Nathan Schiller, Tyler Williams, Mike Amicarelli and violinist Laura C. Bates. ‘Iomair’ is full of melodic phrases from both guitars and violin, as well as gruelling vocals throughout.
Cast Away, the opening track of ‘Iomair’ starts with a lovely violin melody from Bates with the rhythm section joining in, giving Cast Away a folk metal vibe, and then the vocals of Astaroth enter and I was surely impressed. Astaroth’s vocals are a mix between Xenoyr (Ne Obliviscaris) and Muhammed Mêlki (Brood of Hatred). The violin entwined riffs on Cast Away are completely captivating and create the perfect layer to something that is truly amasing, and the eerie clean vocals echo in your head amongst all the chaos. By Design is the next track off ‘Iomair’ and starts off in spiral of noise with the riff and melodies created, before dropping into a progressive style riff with those bellowing vocals. By Design shows off the excellent musicianship abilities by Iomair, as the track progresses effortlessly into a funk fuelled riff and seamlessly back into a heavier style riff. A Latin inspired piano riff leads the next track Dance of Eternal Insanity, with folk-esq riffs that are met with the raging melodies of the violin and the creative song writing skills that Iomair have displayed. Embodiment of Emptiness is a killer of a track and probably my favourite off ‘Iomair’, it has a doom metal-esq feel to the track, and the breakdown groove riff with the clean vocals is truly amasing and compliments the overall feel of the track.
If you were wondering if Iomair would have an instrumental track, then this next track is for you. What Are You Waiting For? is a great representation of what can be achieved, when you have no limitations to the creation of your music, it’s a truly captivating piece of music, with the way Iomair have blended numerous styles together and the way Bates has the violin powering through the beautifully created riffs underneath. Cavalcade for None is a track full of glorious grooves and right from the get go, with the use of Latin and Funk inspired riffs and the howling vocals of Astaroth. I don’t say this much or let alone at all, but Cavalcade for None is a track I can see people getting up and dancing to. Yearning is the shortest track on ‘Iomair’ at 3:29 and reminds me of a 90s rock ballad, but with the Iomair musical stamp of creation. Yearning is a beautiful track, with it featuring violin leads, melodic guitar solos and the only track to not feature harsh vocals. The groove riffs continue in Healing, which has a Tool-esq sound to the riff in the clean vocal sections, the violin is used in creating ambiance amongst the heavy progressive riffs, and a guitar lead that progresses as the song grows. Forever Travelling Within is the final track off ‘Iomair’ and ending the musical story telling journey. Forever Travelling Within returns us to the hard-hitting style riffs that we got slammed with on the previous tracks of ‘Iomair’, and giving off a more Katatonia vibe in the clean vocal sections, with it all cascading off into progressive grooves and those epic gruelling harsh vocals.
Iomair have crafted a truly great and interesting musically debut progressive metal album with ‘Iomair’ and I look forward to hearing what’s next. ‘Iomair’ is full of killer riffs that should be illegal for how groovy they are, you have soul grabbing vocals from both the clean and harsh vocals, there are beautifully crafted and place violin melodies, and progressively destructive drums. There wasn’t anything that I felt stood out as an issue to me on ‘Iomair’, besides the violin levels on the opening track Cast Away, which I thought were a little over powering at times, however this didn’t stop me from enjoying ‘Iomair’ on repeat. ‘Iomair’ the debut album by Canadian Progressive metal band Iomair is a great example of what can be created when a bunch of highly skill musicians with exception musicianship abilities join together to create a monster of an album.
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