8/10 -
7/10 -
7/10 - YORKTON This WEEK
7/10 - BLOKNER REVIEWS (review found below)
5/10 - Metal To Infinity (Belgium)

By: Dan Brisebois

Yorkton, Saskatchewan will likely never go down as a hotbed of classic rock, but Iron Dragon has proven that isolation from the mainstream is sometimes the key to a record that's both refreshing and a pleasant surprise.

The band is comprised of Ryan Crouse and Sam Derkatch, and 2009's OPEN THE GATES is their second full length album, full of interesting and well-textured arrangements, and has been getting some attention at home, as well as abroad.

The all instrumental starts with "Prelude To The Gates." The ominous textures go into "Birth Of The New," where a looming bass solo is held together with some guitar riffs in the vein of Pantera, Anthrax, Iron Maiden and Metallica.

Other tracks like "The Gates Shall Never Burn," "The Fire Within," "Gates of Sand" and "To Forge A Legacy" show off Crouse's licks and a heavy industrial beat. But with acoustic arrangements tucked neatly in the middle of the tracks, they make the record one of the most unique on the Canadian circuit of the year.

"The Fallen Man" has a brooding, haunting feeling to the underlying keyboards and slick sound effects lingering in the background. "In Darkness We Stand" is probably the heaviest of the heavy on the record, with pounding rhythms and scorching scales.

IRON DRAGON " Open The Gates"
(Self - released) 2008.
Instrumental metal - CANADA

Iron Dragon is a Canadian band/project, brainchild of guitarist/author Ryan Crouse. He is also a owner and creator of "STAR VERSE" comics. With friend and bassist Sam Derkatch he has recorded an album "Open The Gates". This is his second effort, this time done as a fully instrumental album. In some way "Open The Gates", is a sort of epic story/saga, where whole concept has promoted Ryan's interesting performing fields.But, this isn't a typical or classical guitar orientired metal issue. As a guitarist, Ryan didn' t show elements of virtuosity, but conceptually his album is full of often tempo or mood changes, as same as atmospheric or emotional diversities. We can not find well-known and established maniristical elements on his album, and all present things sounds also as a sort of musical experiment.It's also evident that "Open The Gates" accepts progressive influences, even that technically/productionally a present themes are poorly done. There are 11 tracks on album, and we can also threats them as a connective parts. Finally, we can face it with interesting challenge, whose realizations deserve a listeners attention.
Rating : 7/10


IRON DRAGON is a two man project that consists Ryan Crouse doing guitars, drums, synths, Progressive Metal style. The guitars dominate most of the music through out the songs. They do add in some flavoring of Thrash & Power Metal as well. The songs are very involved, intricate & well structured. There is a lot of changed ups & all out shredding in the songs too. This is another band that the guitarist reminds me of Steve Vai, but this time only if he was playing in a Thrash Metal band. If there were vocals added to the music then these guys would have fit in perfectly with a lot of the bands from the late 80's & early 90's playing the same style. All guitar dominated music lovers should give this a listen!

IRON DRAGON: (Self-Titled)

6/10 - Calvin Daniels of YORKTON This WEEK

I'll preface this review with the statement I think it is generally amazing what music is being distributed today that as recently as 10 years ago would have never seen its way beyond a basement jam session. The emergence of computer recording software, much of it now free shareware for the budding musician, has put the concept of home recording within the price range of anyone with some dedicated computer skills.
That is where Iron Dragon comes from, the fertile minds of guitarist Ryan Crouse and bass player Sam Derkatch. (See related story this edition). Like many young musicians this pair found themselves jamming in the basement of Crouse's home and before long the music was no longer material from favoured bands such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but instead were original compositions.
The entrepreneur in Crouse, he self-produces comic books too, soon had the original music laid down on tracks via his home computer, and a CD was born. Is this the cleanest recording? No, it isn't quite up to studio grade. The musicians know that themselves.
But, then again this is metal music, and having a raw-boned edge to the sound isn't particularly a bad thing, and far more forgivable here than it would be on many other genres.
Helping out the overall sound is the fact this full-length effort there are 23 cuts ranging from interludes of 30-plus seconds to Mortal Realm clocking in at 6:15 is purely instrumental. I have always rather enjoyed instrumental metal, at least above the screaming into a microphone kind. In talking to Crouse there are lyrics for most cuts, but since neither he nor Derkatch have the voices to carry the songs, they chose the instrumental avenue.
So what do we have here? Well, it's guitar-driven mental. You can tell it's Iron Dragon's first work. Crouse, a self-taught guitarist is raw too, but again he knows that and they do a descent job of staying within themselves. They don't push the packet too far, knowing as musicians the intricacies would be beyond their skill.
Still, this isn't a bad CD. Musically, there is material on label releases far less appealing than what these two have managed.
That they are local Yorkton boys, as they say "trying to put Yorkton metal on the map" they deserve to be supported.

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