Artist: Iron Mountain

Album Title: Unum

Label: Prophecy Productions

Date Of Release: 1 April 2016

I’m not normally the biggest fan of post rock, post metal or, for that matter, folk elements within rock and metal music. Equally, I don’t tend to like purely instrumental albums either. However, there are exceptions to every rule and Iron Mountain would appear to be the exception to all of these.

Based in Limerick, Ireland, Iron Mountain have been around since 2012 and are comprised of Damien Mullane (Guitar), Matt Bashford (Uilleann pipes, Low whistle, Native American flute),
Ronan Ryan (Transverse wooden flute, flute head), Stephen Hughes (Bass) and Ray Murphy (Drums, percussion).

‘Unum’ is the quintet’s debut album and it has surprised me quite a bit. Comprised of five lengthy tracks, it combines all of the aforementioned aspects but does so in an interesting and ultimately rewarding fashion. ‘Unum’ also comes across as a very honest record, in that nothing is done for the sake of it or to cynically key into a passing musical fad or trend.

The opening track ‘Bonfires’ sets the tone of the record well. It begins quietly with a striking melody that I instantly like before building into heavier soundscapes. That said, the music never strays into territory that is overly bruising or extreme. Instead, the focus of Iron Mountain is two-fold: creating engaging atmospheres and allowing the traditional instrumentation to take centre stage, not allowing it to become overpowered by the more standard metallic fare surrounding it.


Given the instruments that are used, it is not surprising that ‘Bonfires’ has a demonstrably Celtic feel to it, although it is uncanny just how well the traditional Irish and Native American instruments work in tandem. I’m vaguely reminded of Sigur Ros in terms of the subtle and heart-breaking opening melody but such a comparison is fleeting at best.

At the near half-way mark, the gas is stepped on and the track ignites. Distorted guitars do enter the fray but instead of taking over, they play a much more supporting role as the flute and whistle in particular take flight with glorious abandon. There’s a touch of psychedelia and prog rock to be heard as ‘Bonfires’ begins it’s descent to the close via a few welcome twists and turns.

‘Enthralldom’ is another nine-minute slow burner that continues the themes explored in the preceding track, albeit toying with a more churning, repetitive and hypnotic approach that takes a little longer to appreciate.

By contrast, the aptly-titled ‘Blitz’ weighs in at an almost-brief five minutes, offering a much more up-tempo, frenetic and frenzied listening experience, where brass instruments are introduced within the barely-controlled tumult that begins the track but which eventually gives way to a really nice melody enhanced by a great bass rumble.

‘Powow’ begins in haunting fashion, is much more openly inspired by the Native American instrumentation and is, at times, dominated by a much more powerful and pronounced rhythm section than elsewhere, where the drums really pound hard.

‘Opium’, by contrast, closes ‘Unum’ in epic fashion. With a life of over 13 minutes, it starts off in quiet and contemplative fashion, slowly and inexorably building to a climax via more properly charming melodic sensibilities, lashings of atmosphere and plenty more by way of authentic instrumentation. When it hits, the crescendo leaves nothing behind, providing a strong and powerful culmination of everything that is positive about Iron Mountain.

So, take it from someone who doesn’t normally like instrumental, folk-inspired post rock, ‘Unum’ is a very commendable album indeed and one from which I personally derive much listening pleasure.

The Score Of Much Metal: 7.5


If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:

Knifeworld – Bottled Out Of Eden
Novembre – Ursa
Beholder – Reflections
Neverworld – Dreamsnatcher
Universal Mind Project – The Jaguar Priest
Thunderstone – Apocalypse Again
InnerWish – Innerwish
Mob Rules – Tales From Beyond
Ghost Bath – Moonlover
Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown
Oceans Of Slumber – Winter
Rikard Zander – I Can Do Without Love
Redemption – The Art Of Loss
Headspace – All That You Fear Is Gone
Chris Quirarte – Mending Broken Bridges
Sunburst – Fragments Of Creation
Inglorious – Inglorious
Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
Structural Disorder – Distance
Votum – Ktonik
Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
Rikard Sjoblom – The Unbendable Sleep
Textures – Phenotype
Serenity – Codex Atlanticus
Borknagar – Winter Thrice
The Mute Gods – Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me
Brainstorm – Scary Creatures
Arcade Messiah – II
Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts
Rendezvous Point – Solar Storm
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld