Iron Tongue are a six-piece unit from Arkansas who play their heavy brand of Southern rock a little slower than most and with a slightly doomy bent, which is likely thanks to frontman C.T. also being in sludge metal crew Rwake.
Opening with the understated eight-minute soul-bearing of ‘Ever After’, the album certainly doesn’t play to type as the song crawls along with C.T.’s gravelly vocals taking centre stage over the gentle musical pluckings before the song opens up into almost power ballad territory with a guitar solo evoking as much emotion as the vocals. It’s a different way to open an album but an effective one as by the time the Saint Vitus-esque doom of ‘Witchery’ follows the band have your attention and you’re hooked.
The slowed-down bar-room blues of ‘Lioness’ adds a little of a Lynyrd Skynyrd flavour, albeit Skynyrd if they played Black Sabbath songs, but the band really bring the heaviness for album closer ‘Said N’ Done’, which ups a gear a couple of minutes in and drives ahead on a full-throttle Southern groove towards its clattering conclusion.
“The Dogs Have Barked, The Birds Have Flown” is more than what the tags of Southern rock or doom suggest. There is a dark soul here and each song is played with sense of emotion and feeling than many bands that fall under those simplistic tags fail to muster. The inclusion of Stephanie Smittle as a backing vocalist gives the songs more depth, her vocals on tracks like ‘Skeleton’ adding another layer to the emotional pull of the album, and overall, although it may be a little overwrought in places, the album has that certain something and you know you’re listening to something a little different but also a little special because of it.