Sound — 8
Iron Claw was a Scottish rock band and began in the summer of 1969 and brought together by founding member Alex Wilson who recruited Jimmy Ronnie (guitar) and Ian McDougall (drums) and later in 1970 would be joined by vocalist Mike Waller. Alex Wilson who was the bass guitarist of the group was inspired to form his own band after an inspiration from seeing Led Zeppelin live in 1969 the group name would be named from a lyric to King Crimson's song "21st Century Schizoid Man," of course drawing from the heavier side of King Crimson. The group would start off like most bands did performing covers of great musicians during the time which helps a beginning band to get an idea of their sound covering Free, Johnny Winter, Ten Years After and Taste. They soon would begin writing songs of their own and only these few posthumous albums that have been released in recent years are what is left as they never made an official album at all before. The lineup would change in 1971 to Jimmy Ronnie (guitar), Wullie Davidson (lead vocals, flute, harmonica), Alex Wilson (bass), Billy Lyall (Mellotron, piano, saxophone, percussion), Ian McDougall (drums, percussion) and incorporate a more different and well managed sound and distinct style.
Lyrics — 8
What a fantastic obscurity this is! Iron Claw is an scottish "heavy metal pioneering" hard rock band and they were formed in 1969. At first they were a cover band, doing some numbers of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and so on. Fortunately they started to write their own material and these 16 great songs here are great example of that. Unfortunately they never got an album released but Rockadrome is here to save us, as they collected these songs together and released them in 2009. The sound quality in those earlier cuts is a bit poor but that doesn't matter. I'm thankful that I found this group.
As you listen to the album, you may wonder why it sounds like there's two different bands on this record. Well, that is because some of the material is from early 70's, which consists of perfectly executed hard rock/heavy psych with strong heavy metal elements. The other material differs very much from that. There are a few typical 70's hard rock cuts like "Knock 'Em Dead," "Gonna Be Free," "Pavement Artist," "Loving You" which are probably from the mid 70's or something. But don't get me wrong, those are also very nice songs.
The guitar work is absolutely phenomenal and the songs include lots of long solos which is a great thing. Mixed with awesome hard rock/heavy psych, this band is essential to check out for every fan of those genres. You will be amazed how great bands there is from the late '60s and early '70s, which never got to release an album. Considering Sabbath weren't exactly conquering the world at this point in time, I'd call them extremely ahead of the curve on this.
Overall Impression — 8
Playing music heavily inspired by Black Sabbath isn't something rare ... But it sure freaking was in A.D. 1970! I mean we're talking about probably the earliest example of Sabbath worship, conceived by a few teenagers amazed by the gig of the fathers of metal. After all these years, one of them finally managed to get all of their demo recordings released on a compilation CD. The quality is as raw as you'd expect, but that just makes the eerie mood stronger. Apart from metallic, doom laden tracks, there are also more hard rock sounding ones. Overall quality ranges from good to some exceptional work and it's a real shame that Iron Claw never managed to record LP, as it might be considered legendary today.
Pick it up if you're into ridiculously underrated gems of early heavy metal (and how the crap could you not be?).