Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cast Iron - Leather & Metal EP (2008)

Had Finland's Cast Iron arrived just a few years later than they did, the time might have been ripe for them to cash in on the new wave of old school heavy/speed metal that is currently trending, led by the excellent Enforcer and followed by a bunch of rather average bands. Cast Iron sound exactly like Running Wild circa 1984-87, and seeing that the legacy of Kasparek is always spreading to new and young audiences, they would have fit right in with every other worship band. The vocals sound almost exactly like Rock'n'Rolf, the song titles like "Preacher of Evil" and "Out from Hell" reek of tribute, and the mix of speed/power material and mid paced rockers creates an identical feel to a Gates of Purgatory, Branded & Exiled or Under Jolly Roger, though the Finns provide a little busier guitar work, only natural after 20+ years of stylistic evolution.

Leather & Metal would be the only Cast Iron release, originally intended as a handout for shows, later released through Thunderknights in an official format. Normally, I would just pass of on such an obvious ripoff, but I have for many years starved for just such a sound, and to that effect the Finns are more than successful. "Out from Hell" opens with a bang, the vocalist shrieking like a harpy (yet another little development on the Germans' original sound) while the guitars rage in a seriously Running Wild chord progression. The chorus is infectious, and if you can't bang your head to this it's unlikely I'll be asking you to prom. "Running from the Law" is more like a "Raw Ride" or some other mid paced track, perfect for chewing a toothpick as you stroll down some city street, wanted by the local authorities but drunk and not giving a fuck. I enjoyed the reverb on the vocals in the verse and melodic guitars in the bridge. "Preacher of Evil" runs a similar course, with slightly better guitars, and the title track is slower and more precise, like a "Beggars Night" or "Land of Ice" from Under Jolly Roger.

You're not here for lyrical brilliance, and Cast Iron offer nothing but generic 1984-worship. In fact, you've got no other motivation to track this EP down unless you simply want more of the same that the superior German band had to offer in that period. Cast Iron do this style well enough, and the raw production of the release is charming, but I'm not sure if they could have thrived with a continued career, unless they expanded upon their sound to incorporate other influences. I would never recommend it above the influence, of course, so if you have the spare pieces of eight and do not own Running Wild's catalogue up to about 1995, you are better off to spend there. But if you rue the day Rock'n'Rolf stopped making killer music (around 1995) and the pirate galley finally jumped the shark, and seek a return to the glorious past, these Finns will welcome your nostalgia with open, spiked armbands to the high seas and mean streets.

Verdict: Win [7/10] (I'm a bastard, raised in sin)

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