Iron Tongue Post New Single Pallbearer’s Blues

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 9th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

iron tongue

I’m assuming that the new Iron Tongue three-songer single, Pallbearer’s Blues, isn’t, you know, about the band’s fellow Arkansas doom brethren in the band Pallbearer. Certainly anything’s possible, but far more likely the title and proximity is a coincidence. Nonetheless, as Iron Tongue follow-up 2016’s long-player, Witches (review here), they show an increasing diversity of sound with vocalist Stephanie Smittle taking lead vocals on “Pallbearer’s Blues” itself and bassist Andy Warr both starting third cut “Darker Still” with an automatically swinging low end groove and stepping up for lead vocals there, while erstwhile frontman Christopher Farris Terry (see also: Rwake) moves to a backing position in both pieces. CT was the one who alerted me to the tracks, which are out now through Spotify and iTunes, where both Witches and the band’s Neurot Recordings-issued 2013 debut, The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown (review here). Hard to believe that record’s five years old already. Time, flying and all that.

As to whether the new single precedes a third full-length, I’m not sure, but Iron Tongue would be just about on pace with a release sometime next year, so it’s worth keeping an eye out, and worth checking out the single in the meantime to hear how the band is continually coming into their own. I don’t know if you need a Spotify account to stream the tracks, but since I have a Spotify account, I’d imagine that’s not a problem anyway, since I’m generally the last person on the planet to sign onto that kind of thing after everyone else.

In any case, have at it:

iron tongue pallbearers blues

Iron Tongue is releasing a single for 2 songs, with art from Nate Powell. For the songs Pallbearer’s Blues and Darker Still.

Nate Powell did the art. Come Again, March books 1-3, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole…

Also, Stephanie Smittle takes lead on the first song, and our bass player Andy is doing lead vocals on the 2nd song. I [CT] sing back up all over it.

1. Pallbearer’s Blues
2. Mark’s Diddy
3. Darker Still

Iron Tongue is:
Mark Chiaro – Guitar
Andy Warr – Bass
Stephanie Smittle – Vocals
Stan James – Drums
Chris Terry – Vocals
Adam Faucett – Guitar
JR Top – Keys

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Iron Tongue, Witches: This Freezing Point (Plus Full Album Stream)

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on November 8th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


[Stream Iron Tongue’s Witches in full by clicking play above. Album is out digitally today, Nov. 8, with physical release Nov. 14.]

A second full-length from Little Rock, Arkansas, six-piece Iron Tongue, Witches, arrives as a self-released follow-up to the band’s 2013 debut, The Dogs Have Barked, the Bird Has Flown (review here). That album came out via Neurot Recordings and had a benefit of relative proximity to 2011’s Rest (review here), the most recent LP from frontman Christopher “CT” Terry‘s then-main outfit, Rwake. Three years later, Terry, fellow vocalist Stephanie Smittle, guitarists Mark Chiaro and Scott Diffee, bassist Andy Warr and drummer Stan James would seem to stand more on their own with the brevity of Witches, a 24-minute five-tracker that nonetheless pushes forward the stylistic modus established their last time out.

Centerpiece “Starless,” with a pedal steel guest appearance from Todd Beene (Lucero) might be where that’s most the case, as Iron Tongue blend moody and mid-paced heavy rock groove with more Southern vibes, and certainly a pedal steel guitar isn’t going to hurt that effort, but even in the call and response gang-style vocals in the chorus of opener “Lose Yourselves Away” and the verse of the subsequent “The Giant,” the lead-topped swing of “Stones and Chains” and the spaciousness in which the dual-vocal hook of crawling closer “Devil’s Friend” seems to take place, Iron Tongue seem intent on casting an identity of their own throughout Witches in weighted Southern-style tones, fluid tempos, clean and soulful vocals, tales of perseverance, and just an underpinning of metal to sharpen the corners.

Importantly, there’s no single element that defines them at any given time, but rather the different ways in which they blend the not-exhaustive aspects above to execute this brief collection. Structure plays a significant role as well. With three songs over five minutes long — “Lose Yourselves Away,” “Starless” and “Devil’s Friend” — and two under four — “The Giant” and “Stones and Chains,” both faster — Iron Tongue set themselves up with a prime opportunity to emphasize dynamics with a back and forth between them, and that’s just how Witches plays out, so that the turns between “Lose Yourselves Away” and “The Giant” and “Starless” and “Stones and Chains” and “Devil’s Friend” are all the more flowing for their consistency. If it was an album that was 40 or 50 minutes long, they might need something more to break it up, but for as bare-bones as Witches seems interested in being, those bones prove solid enough to support its flesh and musculature.


One can hear a likewise patterning in the vocals. Already-noted call and response between CT and either Smittle on “Starless” and “Devil’s Friend,” or what seems to be a variety of others throughout — might also be layering — becomes a big part of the tracks’ identities, and draws emphasis to the languid sway in the opening minutes of “Starless” before that song kicks into its more uptempo second half as much as it does the barroom strut of “Stones and Chains.” I’m not sure if Iron Tongue are inviting sing-alongs, ultimately, but they wouldn’t seem to be discouraging them by any means, and the parallel moves in positioning of the songs and arrangements within them speak to a drive toward structure that lends Witches an even more cohesive sense of presentation.

And as they make their way toward “Devil’s Friend” to round out, they seem to match that structure with a linear design poised toward a darker-sounding finish. “Stones and Chains,” “Lose Yourselves Away” and indeed “Devil’s Friend” keep a decidedly positive lyrical spin, but the finale is as close to doom as Iron Tongue come, and with its slow-rolling riff, drawn out leads, echoing shouts from CT and punctuating snare from James, they make the point clear. If not for the “You gotta stand up” encouragement in the hook, it would almost be out of place, but the lyrics tie “Devil’s Friend” the rest of what precedes and help bring Witches to a crashing and rumbling finish that helps ensure an impression is left, despite the album being so short.

Arguments could be made for Witches as an EP as opposed to an LP because of that quick runtime — my standard is usually that Slayer‘s Reign in Blood was 28 minutes long — but I think Iron Tongue make a good case for a full-length flow here and that rather than include any filler or take more time, three years after their debut they opted for something that could be both raw and engaging. They got there. Witches has its brooding side, as seen in the Nate Powell cover art, but repeat listens reveal it as a bolder step into sonic individualism than it might at first seem to be, and it takes that step without giving way to any form of pretense, thereby making it even more of a win for the band.

Iron Tongue, “Lose Yourselves Away” official video

Iron Tongue on Thee Facebooks

Iron Tongue on Bandcamp

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Iron Tongue Announce New Album Witches; Premiere “Lose Yourselves Away” Video

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 26th, 2016 by JJ Koczan


Three years after their debut album, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown (review here), arrived via Neurot Recordings, Little Rock, Arkansas, heavy troupe Iron Tongue return next month with their second full-length, Witches. A DIY release is expected to be ready to roll by the end of next month, and in advance of that, you can check out a brand new — as in, put together this week — video for the opening track “Lose Yourselves Away,” featuring the recognizable vocals of Christopher “CT” Terry of Rwake.

Terry, who’s also known for helming the Southern metal documentary Slow Southern Steel, took the time to give some background on the making of the record, about which I’ll have more up closer to the release — digital Nov. 8, physical Nov 14. The Nate Powell artwork, Terry‘s words, the tracklist, lineup info and video follow here, ready for the digging.

Be informed:


Iron Tongue – Witches

Here’s the facts: We wrote the album about two years ago, directly after the release of the last record. Recorded it almost a year ago. It’s way, way more stripped down compared to the last record. Just basic hard rock. One of our guitarists, Jason Tedford, recorded it. It’s done in the same studio as the last record.

We recorded most of it live with very little overdubs. The reason for the lag was our second guitarist, the engineer, quit the band last June, so we went into the foxhole, came up with a new plan, and starting setting it out. We have a new guitarist, and we are rolling. Already have new songs in the arsenal with shows throughout the mid-South into the New Year.

Also one little cool thing to point out is a guest appearance from electric pedal steel player Todd Beene. He used to play in Lucero, and now plays with Chuck Ragan. He laid down a monster of a dirty slide solo on the song “Starless.”

Cover art is by Nate Powell. He’s a north Little Rock, AR, native, known for the graphic novel series March about the life of Congressman John Lewis.

Iron Tongue, Witches tracklisting:
1. Lose Yourselves Away
2. The Giant
3. Starless
4. Stones and Chains
5. Devils Friend

Iron Tongue is:
Mark Chiaro – Guitar
Andy Warr – Bass
Stephanie Smittle – Vocals
Stan James – Drums
CT – Vocals
Scott Diffee – Guitar

Iron Tongue, “Lose Yourselves Away” official video

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Iron Tongue’s The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown Debut Now Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 28th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

If the response to the track streamed here is anything to go by, the Neurot debut from Arkansas-based Iron Tongue, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, arrives with no shortage of advance fanfare, but might still prove a creeper to the general public. Catching immediate attention because of Rwake‘s Chris “CT” Terry in the frontman role, the moody Southern grooves and heavy vibes nonetheless carve out their own identity across the album’s seven cuts, and it was for that reason I thought the record was worth a release date plug. The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown is out now.

PR wire info and a live clip of opener “Ever After” follow here:

IRON TONGUE Debut Out Today Via Neurot!

Neurot Recordings is pleased to release the debut from Arkansas southern rock collective IRON TONGUE! Fronted by Chris “CT” Terry, the founding frontman of sludge legion Rwake, IRON TONGUE formed when a group of veteran players with diverse musical backgrounds found a common interest in the need to get down and dirty and way, way gone.

Churning a soulful blend of girthy, heavily amped, blues-based rock, IRON TONGUE aren’t singing of magical moonlit escapades. The band offer up songs of pain, regret and heartache that recall everything from the proto-metal stomp of Blue Cheer and Grand Funk to the darkest hours of Kiss, Deep Purple, Buddy Guy and ‘Skynyrd. Having spent over three years performing steadily throughout the South, IRON TONGUE has traversed the Midwest and East Coast with Memphis kindred spirits The Dirty Streets, in addition to sharing bills with the likes of Black Tusk, Scott Kelly, The Sword, High on Fire, Crowbar, The Body, Lita Ford and fellow Arkansans Pallbearer. A split 7” with The Dirty Streets, featuring a ballsy version of KISS’s “Two Timer” served as a precursor to the creation their debut full-length for Neurot.

Titled The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown, the seven track offering was recorded and produced by soundsmith Billy Anderson (Melvins, Sleep, Neurosis, etc) at IRON TONGUE guitarist Jason Tedford’s Wolfman Studios. Called “a solid slab of balls to the wall shameless rock, with a power and an edge and soul that rarely exists in music today,” by Neurosis’ Steve Von Till, The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown is set for release via Neurot Recordings on May 27th in Europe and May 28th in North America.

Comments drummer Stan James of joining the Neurot family: “IRON TONGUE is excited and honored to be a part of the Neurot team! We are looking forward to working hard every step of the way and we are committed to making music that everyone will be proud of.”

Jason Tedford – Guitar
Mark Chiaro – Guitar
Andy Warr – Bass
Stan James – Drums
CT – Vocals
JR Top – Keyboards
Stephanie Smittle – Backing Vocals

Iron Tongue, “Ever After” Live

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audiObelisk: Iron Tongue Premiere “7 Days” from The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown Neurot Recordings Debut

Posted in audiObelisk on April 16th, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Those looking for similarities between Iron Tongue‘s full-length debut, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, and frontman Chris “CT” Terry‘s work in post-doomers Rwake will find them few and far between — but not completely absent. Terry is joined in the Little Rock, Arkansas-based six-piece by backing vocalist Stephanie Smittle, guitarists Jason Tedford and Mark Chiaro, bassist Andy Warr and drummer Stan James and he brings to his approach a style of clean-sung but still throaty shouts, at times veering toward that bottom-of-the-mouth soul that Phil Anselmo brought to Down II, but as on the centerpiece “Moon Unit,” he finds his own personality within the material as well. Pacing also helps — Skynyrd by way of Crowbar — and where so much Southern heavy is bent on ZZ Top riffs rehashed at double-speed, Iron Tongue keep their grooves slow, coupling Tedford and Chiaro‘s trodden guitar work with organ textures and Warr‘s consuming low end.

But for the earlier “Witchery” — distinguished by the line, “The cocaine has a lock on my brain,” which opens the chorus — and the stomping finale “Said ‘n’ Done,” most of The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown keep the workingman’s downer feel set by opener “Ever After,” Smittle‘s vocals coming on in layers to introduce a key element in Iron Tongue‘s approach: the band’s unabashed penchant for melody. They could’ve easily started the record with a rager, but if the title wasn’t enough of a hint, they clearly wanted to make it plain that there’s more to what they do than redundant burl and dudely posturing in songs about drinking. So be it. Likewise, the penultimate cut on The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, “7 Days,” summarizes much of the record’s emotionality before the final rush of “Said ‘n’ Done,” nestling into a mid-paced groove over which Terry delivers some of his most effective work, answered in the chorus by Smittle to result in one of the best hooks present throughout.

Obviously Terry‘s tenure in Rwake is going to earn at least a mention when it comes to Iron Tongue‘s work, but the album — cumbersomely titled as it is — makes no bones about establishing its own context and working on its own merits in establishing an atmosphere and constructing a genuine sonic breadth out of slow riffs, organic production, Southern woes and heaviness that goes beyond the tonal. As a piece of the whole, I think “7 Days” represents these aspects well, and I’m thrilled to be able to premiere the track on the player below.

The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown is due out May 28 in North America (day before in Europe) on Neurot Recordings. Please enjoy:

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

Iron Tongue‘s debut, The Dogs Have Barked, the Birds Have Flown, was recorded at Jason Tedford‘s Wolfman Studios by Billy Anderson. More info at the following links:

Iron Tongue on Thee Facebooks

Neurot Recordings

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