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Ironweed
Indian Ladder

SS-085/2008

Ironweed is:
Jeff Andrews: Vox
Mike Vitali: Guitar
Brendan Slater: Bass
Jim Feck: Drums
Ryan Rapp: Guitar

Additional Rocking: Benny Grotto: Mellotron and Cowbell

Produced by Ironweed and Benny Grotto.
Recorded at Mad Oak Studios, Allston, MA.
Engineered and Mixed by Benny Grotto.
Assistant Engineer: Brian Koerber.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio.
Artwork by Mike Saputo.

Reviews for Indian Ladder...

Penny Black Music (UK)

Ironweed's name and the title of their debut album. 'Indian Ladder', are both inspired by their local wilderness in Albany, New York, and these, along with the tribal image of the sleeve, blend perfectly with the album’s raw power.

Almost fading into stereotype, the opening track. 'This Faithless Will', proves that stoner-rock outfit Ironweed are a force to be reckoned with. Similarities drawn to the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be fair, but that is not to say Ironweed can be dismissed as formulaic stereotypes. Instead their frantic and raucous sound translates well through this album, and had this reviewer imagining they must be a powerful presence on stage.

Jeff Andrews on vocals makes for an incredible central figure from which the music revolves, but it is the duel guitars of Mike Guizzardi and Mike Vitali that deserve exceptional cred for some of the best guitar work I have heard in a very long time. Blending seamlessly with the music, yet at times coming to the fore, the guitars insinuate themselves with such force that they form the core focus of the album.

Standout tracks include the 'Lost and Forgotten', although the opening track “The Faithless Will” was for me the weakest on the album. Despite mixed quality in some of the tracks, this is nonetheless a very good album: raw, unsubtle and pounding; just how I like it.

 - Peter Allison


March 22nd, 2009
www.pennyblackmusic.co.uk

Cosmic Lava

I'm not sure if IRONWEED have named themselves after the novel by William Kennedy or if they've just smoked some strong grass, but one thing is for sure: the band was born from the ashes of Greatdayforup. 'Indian Ladder' is their debut for Small Stone Records in 2008 and the most notable change in the line-up is the new vocalist Jeff Andrews. His aggressive rough edged vocals fit much better to the huge guitar riffs from Mike Vitali and Ryan Rapp than the ones from their former vocalist Mike Langone. He adds a strong metal vibe to the sludgy metal-laden groove rock of 'Indian Ladder', but even the entire sound is more metal than ever before. IRONWEED have put together an album full of energy and heavy riffs that I can really appreciate, but I would praise this album much more if they had written more songs in the vein like 'Rid the Earth' or the wonderful 'Penny for your Prayers' with its outstanding hookline. Mostly 'Indian Ladder' is a brutal ride from start to finish and although some of tracks have cool arrangments with unexpected tempo changes, it would've been interesting to hear if they had integrated more melodies here. But if you're lookin for a powerful, bone crunching, pulverizing heavy sound than IRONWEED will satisfy all your needs and it's no mistake to take a look at the lyrics which aren't that bad. I think that 'Indian Ladder' is a solid debut, but I know that their next album will much better. If they write more songs like 'Penny for your Prayers' I will become a huge fan of the band.

 - KK
 


January 19th, 2009
www.cosmiclava.com

The Cutting Edge

The foot-stomping funk beat of Indian Ladder might come as a surprise to those familiar with Ironweed’s former incarnation as Greatdayforup. After the demise of GDFU, Mike Vitali (guitar), Brendan Slater (bass), and Jim Feck (drums) began the rebuilding with ex-Held Under vocalist Jeff Andrew and Ironweed began to take shape. It’s surprising how much the vocals can change a band as Ironweed is a completely different animal. Stripped down to basic 4/4 time signatures, ripe and pounding drum/bass interaction and a lust for dirty, raw, distorted guitar would put these guys somewhere between COC, Motörhead and Faith No More. Andrews has a penetrating growl that’s both pissed off and blood curdling which brings a huge dose of metal to these eleven southern riff rock gems. Deeply impressionable are the molten eruptions of the twisting “Penny for Your Prayers” and the doom-filled “Lifeless Coil” with it’s hell-chanting taunt “Can you hear the angels laughing at you? / Can you feel the pain?”

The Albany, NY quintet finds a certain chemistry stemming from Slater’s bass swagger. The songs have a serious hook and in places become quite addicting. There is the head bopping action that kicks in with “Lost and Forgotten” where the thump of the bass is king. “Disconnect” chugs along with a serpentine guitar winding its way on top of a soul-scabbing doom riff. A Saint Vitus or early Entombed influence surround “Thorn” where once again the bass and drum drive the song as it walks dangerously close to death metal. Andrew’s “metal” voice could not fit more perfectly and proves to be the key to sculpting the Ironweed sound. His ability to stab the song with a vocal line that screams, growls and is intensely throaty while still remaining melodic and hook-friendly is his calling card. Like GDFU, the guitars truly motivate this beast - densely heavy, stunningly creative and never overdone. Adding guitarist Ryan Rapp really beefs the crunch factor making way for lots of layered harmonics and mind-blowing solo runs. Recommended cuts are “This Faithless Will”, “Rid the Earth” and “A World Away”.

- Todd k. Smith
 


January, 2009 (issue 66)
www.cuttingedgerocks.com

ROCK SOUND (UK)

Promoting a band's debut by claiming they're at their peak of their game doesn't leave a lot of room to grow. Admittedly, Ironweed do have a full bodied rock sound thagt no doubt stems from the members' ilustrious past in a range of Albany bands, including Gretadayforup. 'Indian Ladder' keeps a pace faster than your average stoner record, taking full advantage of an oceanwide production that makes the drums clatter and thunder beyond dual guitars. The infiltration of classic rock is warped by a sludgy wash that charges the songs, even if it's all been seen and done before. By no means their peak then, but an exciting start nonetheless. For fans of: Milligram, Sasaquatch, and Greatdayforup.

- Dan Morgan


December, 2008 - Issue 117
www.rock-sound.net

Leicester Bangs (UK)

Ironweed, formed in 2007, comprises a five-piece twin-guitar line-up from Albany New York made up of veterans drawn from a number of prominent local bands such as GDFU and Held Under. Debut album “Indian Ladder” is sludgy and insistent, recalling Sasquatch in the way they follow one such well-crafted punch with another. “A World Away” and “Lifeless Coil” show them at their heaviest and best as full-on contemporary metal, while “Thorn” and “Death of Me” are roaring demonic and redolent of any number of well established Roadrunner acts. “Penny for Your Thoughts” ups the ante further, illustrating that in spite of their relentless sonic onslaught their songwriting has a healthy degree of ambition on a number that even Machine Head might have been proud to call their own.

 -  Neil B
 


November 24th, 2008
www.leicesterbangs.co.uk

Sleazegrinder

I have to admit suffering from listener fatigue when it comes to stoner rock, especially the meat-and-potatoes, who-needs-anything-but-Sabbath-and-Kyuss-records style delineated here. But it’s good to hear some no-bullshit heavy rock once in a while, and Ironweed  definitely delivers the anvil-laden goods. Rising from the funny-smelling ashes of Greatdayforup, the Albany-based band doesn’t do anything you haven’t heard before; there’s plenty of bludgeoning rhythms, sludgy riffs, crusty vox, etc. They just do it with more conviction, aggression and melody than I’ve heard a stoner band possess in a long time. No motions being casually gone through here – A Penny For Your Prayers and A World Away (which I’d put in a metal dictionary as a perfect example of the form) are out to alter your cerebellum in the most direct and brutal way possible. No muss, no fuss, just the good shit.

 - Michael Toland
 


November, 2008
www.sleazegrinder.com

AllMusic.com

Ironweed's debut album, Indian Ladder, was named after a wilderness area just west of the group's native Albany, NY, but their steel-plated heavy rock style has little in common with the great outdoors, in most every other sense. Surely it's eco-friendly and all that, but there's still enough electricity coursing through these songs to start a sizeable forest fire, so let's hope the band's bookings don't involve too many outdoor festivals. All kidding aside, Ironweed's music generally straddles the borderline between groovy stoner rock and straight up heavy metal, meaning mid-paced, head-nodding affairs like "Rid the Earth" and the wah-wah pedal-happy "Penny for Your Prayers" are evenly matched against more aggressive, riff-driven juggernauts like "This Faithless Will" and "Death of Me." But Ironweed are even more prone to blur the lines between the two, by mashing both tendencies together into single songs like "A World Away," "Thorn," and "Vertigo," which, coincidentally tend to be album standouts. Or else, they strike into less predictable territory with the rather funky "Lost and Forgotten," whose jumpy main riff harks back to the early '90s funk metal craze, or "Disconnect," whose doom-like chorus sounds a little out of sorts, but works nevertheless. But if one had to pick the strongest suit to hang Ironweed's potential success on, it would have to be singer Jeff Andrews, whose emotionally charged delivery and frankly stupendous range, could really help the band stand out from the post-stoner rock pack, and improve their crossover appeal, to boot. They still aren't likely to sniff the charts with guitars this vicious and carnivorous, but one can safely predict that many a fan of heavy-ass rock & roll will be including Indian Ladder on their best-of 2008 list.

 - Eduardo Rivadavia
 


November 21st, 2008
www.allmusic.com

Daredevil Records (Germany)

IRONWEED features some guys from the mighty New York based Greatdayforup (especially the main guy behind GDFU, Mike Vitali on guitar) with the new vocalist Jeff Andrews. The “change” of the singer, which is really singing, makes the band stronger and straighter. GDFU was a huge band and with IRONWEED they are now more METAL as ever before, because they mix the driving riff rock from GDFU with the new, better fitting vocals to a harder and more melodic sound. THE FAITHLESS WILL is a riff-monster with excellent vocals and especially the groovy drumming is huge! LOST AND FORGOTTEN is again a mighty song between GDFU and Only Living Witness (the groove). It makes no sense to tell you anything about the single songs, all are full of power and heaviness and got lead by the mighty vocals. I only will mention A WORLD AWAY with an awesome chorus. THORN is a little different, with more dark and screamed vocals. One highlight (between some other highlights) is A PENNY FOR YOUR PRAYERS, which is very close to the CHUM (one of my favourite bands) material. LIFELESS COIL is more slow and the two last tracks (DEATH OF ME – very heavy and with deeper vocals again and MOTH – more experimental) close this mighty record. IRONWEED is a big surprise! This is exactly the music I like, full of power, great riffs, mighty drums and an awesome singer. I hope that this band will come to Europe soon! Thank you for INDIAN LADDER!

Genre: Heavy Stoner Rock
Music: 9
Sound: 8
Info: 11 Songs / 56 Minutes

  - Jochen


November 11th, 2008
www.daredevilrecords.de

The Cutting Edge

The foot-stomping funk beat of Indian Ladder might come as a surprise to those familiar with Ironweed’s former incarnation as Greatdayforup. After the demise of GDFU, Mike Vitali (guitar), Brendan Slater (bass), and Jim Feck (drums) began the rebuilding with ex-Held Under vocalist Jeff Andrew and Ironweed began to take shape. It’s surprising how much the vocals can change a band as Ironweed is a completely different animal. Stripped down to basic 4/4 time signatures, ripe and pounding drum/bass interaction and a lust for dirty, raw, distorted guitar would put these guys somewhere between COC, Motörhead and Faith No More. Andrews has a penetrating growl that’s both pissed off and blood curdling which brings a huge dose of metal to these eleven southern riff rock gems. Deeply impressionable are the molten eruptions of the twisting “Penny for Your Prayers” and the doom-filled “Lifeless Coil” with it’s hell-chanting taunt “Can you hear the angels laughing at you? / Can you feel the pain?”

The Albany, NY quintet finds a certain chemistry stemming from Slater’s bass swagger. The songs have a serious hook and in places become quite addicting. There is the head bopping action that kicks in with “Lost and Forgotten” where the thump of the bass is king. “Disconnect” chugs along with a serpentine guitar winding its way on top of a soul-scabbing doom riff. A Saint Vitus or early Entombed influence surround “Thorn” where once again the bass and drum drive the song as it walks dangerously close to death metal. Andrew’s “metal” voice could not fit more perfectly and proves to be the key to sculpting the Ironweed sound. His ability to stab the song with a vocal line that screams, growls and is intensely throaty while still remaining melodic and hook-friendly is his calling card. Like GDFU, the guitars truly motivate this beast - densely heavy, stunningly creative and never overdone. Adding guitarist Ryan Rapp really beefs the crunch factor making way for lots of layered harmonics and mind-blowing solo runs. Recommended cuts are “This Faithless Will”, “Rid the Earth” and “A World Away”.

- Todd K Smith


November, 2008 - Issue 66
www.cuttingedgerocks.com

KvltSite

When is the new Solace coming? How are we going to cope with Alabama Thunderpussy's demise? Will Corrosion of Conformity ever regroup and put some shit out? While I cannot answer any of those probing yet understandably necessary questions, I can tell you one thing. This new Ironweed rekkid fucking kills and you all should get it.

Though not original as far as southern fried metal goes, Ironweed's Indian Ladder achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Wild, roaring and ass kicking heavy rocking metal with a kind of vocal performance that you expect Anselmo to pull off but hasn't done so in a long time. I mean, check out slow chuggy chorus of Disconnect, those modern metal breakdowns and back to the chorus. Why is this not more popular? It's catchy, heavy and really really catchy.

Most of Indian Ladder sees the line-up settle down on an up-tempo groove and a vibe quite akin to the aforementioned. Which of course means you expect nothing but some mean, loud, dirty and heavy guitar riffs, energetic drumming, intelligent and hook-driven rockers, cool production and some ballsy wah-laden old school guitar solos.

The vocalist doesn't shy away from trying shit out either. Case in point, the monstrous growl of the beginning of Thorn before he goes back to something straight out of Kyle Thomas' bag of tricks. The rest of the band is no slouch either, as far as trying different things out. Thorn's second half sees them do a sludgy start-stop interplay with the drums, then go on a calmer arpeggiated passage before ending the song in an epic fashion.

For every song like Thorn, you have something like Rid the Earth, a more straight-up and nasty southern metal to sing-along to and more importantly play the air-cowbell to. A Penny for Your Prayers might begin gloriously like Sabbath going all southern, but just wait for things to calm down for a total Faith No More chorus. Totally unexpected and very well done, especially when you're just past all this and made it to the manic and intense ending. What greets you next is the most doom and sludge friendly song of the album. Lifeless Coil also features some of the most tortured vocals on the album.

I can go on and on about this, but let's abruptly cut to the bottom line – Indian Ladder fucking kills.
 


October 4th, 2008
www.kvltsite.com

Lollipop Magazine

Yee olde metalized hard rockisms jerked through a frame work of alternative what-not yielding a tense mid-tempo kinda surly dirt-under-the-nails update on FaithNoMore/Soundgarden`s/Danzig`s "rocker" moments. Now this isn`t to say these guys cribbed notes from them`uns but probably spun a lotta the same discs and thought a lotta the same thoughts regardless of the year they were birthed. Could say the same about Solace, no insult-it`s just a handy compare `n` contrast- don`t blame Soundgarden Et. Al., for having the talent, luck, ability and patience to drive a shovel deep enough to hit platinum; better them`uns than not, enh ?

So Ironweed riff it up and down in a way the small and the tall of the past 35 years would TAG AS GOOD METAL. Coming from a label that sat in the "alt.rocker" not "metal" bleachers during the 80`s such a move is interesting and appropriate, esp. Since they`re slated to launch a Solace rec. sometime this year. Ironweed, (I assume the bands named after the book), are metal in an elastic enough way to bump uglys with the stable of psyche/stoner/hard/kickass/kraut/blues/alt.-ROCK bands Small Stone`s heaved at us this century.

Heck one of the guying guitaring here was in the fantastic Great Day For Up, (GD4U-perhaps a wise acre take on the Korean war era military acronym G.D.F.U.-God Damn Fuck Up), from the get go and a couple tooled in their last incarnation. It shows now and again in the chomp and grrr! abstracted from riffs/ melodies thought up while listening to Thin Lizzy and punched through SST era Bad Brains and the Blacks Flag and Sabbath. Good move, and current enough sounding that you can shuffle`m with say, Evergreen Terrace on one side and Intronaut on the other and your nephew won`t crash the boat. Motorhead song they should cover: don`t let`m grind ya down . Pantera tune they coulda done for The O.C., where you come from. As long as we`re doin` covers here how about Mindfunks; zootiehead ?

Invite`m to dinner with Sasquatch, St. Vitus, Scorpions, Solarized, Soundgarden, and We`re All Gonna Die. Swap spit at smalllstone.com and on myspace.

 - Craig Regala
 


October, 2008
www.lollipop.com

StonerRock.com

It's a good thing that Albany, New York's Greatdayforup opted to rechristen itself following the departure of vocalist Mike Langone. First off, the sole remaining original member was guitarist Mike Vitali (the way they jettisoned members following the release of their Small Stone swan song Flores de Sangre was grimly fascinating, like a sinking ship struggling to stay afloat). Secondly, “Greatdayforup” was – still is, I suppose - a terrible name.

“Ironweed” may not win any points for originality either, but at least it won't be greeted with quizzical expressions. And the change in singers completely shifts the sound of the band. This is a distinctly new band, one that's headed in its own direction. Jeff Andrews has a quintessential “metal” voice – loud, abrasive, yet clean enough to still be considered singing and not some type of unintelligible bellow – and that increases the heavy quotient on songs like “A World Away,” “Lifeless Coil,” and “Moth.” Even tracks that have Greatdayforup's mix of melody and driving riff rock - “This Faithless Will,” “Disconnect,” “Vertigo” - hit harder and just seem flat out meaner. The band (along with Vitali and Andrews, there's Brendan Slater on bass and Jim Feck on drums) seems to be primarily focused on brute force – they're always barreling straight at you.

Most of the 11 tracks on Indian Ladder register, but the one that deserves to be singled out is “Penny for Your Prayers.” It may not be the most aggressive of the lot, but its dirty, lurching riffs and the Mike Patton-like croon on the chorus make it the most memorable song on the album (and better yet, he doesn't inexplicably shout out “Smooth!” as on “Lost and Forgotten”).

Greatdayforup was one of those bands that could've/should've made a larger impression, and while there's a noticeable difference between that band and Ironweed, the same principle applies. Indian Ladder comes recommended.

 - John Pegoraro
 


July 27, 2008
www.stonerrock.com

Album Tracks

  1. This Faithless Will
  2. Lost And Forgotten
  3. Disconnect
  4. A World Away
  5. Thorn
  6. Rid The Earth
  7. Penny For Your Prayers
  8. Lifeless Coil
  9. Vertigo
  10. Death Of Me
  11. Moth

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