Ripped straight from the promo for this album: “metal … with no creative restrictions”. Now, if you want me to raise an eyebrow and immediately start gravitating towards your album, all you need to do is boast those five words. If it’s in the right hands, that can open the flood gates for material that not only defines a band’s ingenuity but also defies many standards that the genre at large has put on certain styles, making many feel restricted to only play with one sound in order to be successful if that’s their goal. But, it’s with exceptions like Iotunn and their debut full-length album that we see that defiance bear fruit that is ever so sweet and irresistible.
I did about ten minutes of research into this album before really sitting down and listening to “Access All Worlds” as a whole with about seven of them listening to the first track off the album that serves as the first single, and I cannot express with enough joy how much this one song isn’t a summary for the album as a whole. Sure, it’s a peek, but that’s what the single is really supposed to be but it’s far too often that anything one single can be identified as the album condensed into one catchy or gripping song to reel more people in, but it’s in every way that the entirety of “Access All Worlds” defies what many of us would expect before even going into such that even tagging the record simply as “progressive metal” would be to greatly undermine what’s at play here. Iotunn takes cues from all over the extreme metal world while constantly borrowing from elsewhere to make an extremely eclectic album that never once stops in one place whether it’s in the style that it adapts from one moment to the next or in the theme that’s both cosmically epic and eerily relatable as “Access All Worlds” lumbers forward to craft an overall experience that’s hard to pin down, determine what’s to come next, and defy in so many different ways. The intoxication factor is one of the best things about this record as well with each and every track that’s on display here boasting a fascination that fits every note and lyric so perfectly, that I would honestly be appalled to see anyone try to put down “Access All Worlds” once they dive into it for it is a wild ride that is not to be missed by any self-respecting fan of extreme music.
Such works of innovation and the desire to push yourself to create a challenging effort that is incredibly satisfying to make and listen to are few and far between in the large scheme of things, and that alone makes what Iotunn has done here all the more impressive. “Access All Worlds” holds nothing back in any form to make this first go at a full-length not only something that can be considered a boast-worthy success, but also something that is to be greatly respected for what has been accomplished within its hour-long runtime of absolute glory.
“Access All Worlds” releases on February 26th via Metal Blade!
PRE-ORDER “Access All Worlds” via multiple sources here.
LISTEN to singles from “Access All Worlds” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE Iotunn on Facebook here.