Artist: Iron Dragon
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.

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