If you enjoy(ed) Aversionline, please check out No Echo, a new music site I co-run. Updated daily.

Iron Age and Black Sheep Squadron…

Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2006 @ 10:47am » permalink

Iron Age - Constant StruggleNot that you can tell where a band is from by how they sound per se, but I never would've guessed from hearing this material that these guys are from Texas!? But indeed that is the case, and "Constant Struggle", the debut full-length from Iron Age on Youngblood Records, has a markedly more "east coast" sounding style to its metal-tinged hardcore approach. However, while I'm hesitant to refer to anything as "original" at this point, I have to say that these dudes have a different kind of character to their songwriting that's almost strange when you try to break it down. Aside from the fact that there are some unexpected little rocked out dual guitar runs going on from time to time, a lot of the riffing sort of reminds me of the Cro-Mags circa "Best Wishes", but they're delivering it like a hardcore band as opposed to a metal band. And beyond that, there are a good number of borderline traditional chord progressions as well, but they always fuck with the picking patterns in a way that teeters between Leeway-esque chunkiness and lighter-weight late-80's crossover fare. And then there's the fact that the tempos, while not stagnant, tend to hover at a slightly-more-midpaced-than-average rate, which generally strikes me as a trait that pops up in a lot of European bands that draw on various post-1985 NYHC influences (I'm thinking True Blue especially, in this case).

So, I don't know. It's an unusual one, but I definitely dig it. It's taken a few spins to start growing on me in terms of the songs not being overly energetic or memorable from the onset (and I would suggest the injection of a hint more speed in future efforts), but this is interesting shit. And I'm down with the recording as well. At first I was a little doubtful of the fact that the guitar tone's pretty damn thin, but the whole thing sounds almost frighteningly crisp, and they're making superb use of a badass bass tone that's mixed with efficient prominence with regards to how vital the basslines are to the actual song structures (which is absolutely playing a significant role in their ties to the Cro-Mags/True Blue sort of direction). Check it out:

Iron Age "Return to the Void"
Iron Age "We're Dust/The Violator"

This one's not out for a few more weeks, but the label's taking pre-orders as we speak, and since I'm holding a finished copy in my hands, perhaps they're sending out CD orders a smidge early while they wait on the vinyl? I don't know, though, so don't hold anyone to that! But it's on sale for a mere $8 for the time being, so hop to it. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the forthcoming Knockdown discography, too. I'm curious…

@ Youngblood Records

Black Sheep Squadron - Foreign Object Much more traditionally oriented is "Foreign Object" from Black Sheep Squadron (or Black SS, for short), which was released not long ago by Reaper Records. This fucker dishes out 12 tracks in 17 minutes, and let's just say that even though these cats are straightedge and from Syracuse, their sound predates the '88 youth crew boom by a good few years, and I'd bet that they're all just disgusted with the fact that metal ever invaded the hardcore canon. We're talking one- to three-minute blasts of generally fast and pissed hardcore from a time when the word "punk" was never far behind, and the gruff vocals definitely have a quality that you don't hear too often these days (somewhat comparable to a band like 86 Mentality, but over a harder musical backdrop).

I'm really not sure what more to say about this one. The sound quality is nice and balanced without sounding either dated or overly polished, the matte finish on the layout is a nice touch, etc. There are definitely some raging winners on this thing:

Black Sheep Squadron "Quick Fix"
Black Sheep Squadron "I Want Out"

Yes, it's true. Bands are still capable writing and recording pure, unbastardized hardcore. So if you dig it, show your support and pick up the CD for yourself:

@ RevHQ


  1. Tyrone says:

    I saw Iron Age and got soooo bored.

    I remember hearing a track off of this album and thinking it sounded good. These tracks sound awesome, so I might pick this up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    rock, im so gonna track down the black sheep squadron album.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff, although I am disappointed that you didn't mention the fact that Iron Age needs to step up their cover art. That is some of the worst shit ever.


    I don't know, man. I've seen some shockingly abysmal cover art in my day, so for me, while certainly not great, the Iron Age cover gets the job done well enough.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i think the cover art looks pretty cool. just me though

    nice tunes

  6. -cja says:

    i like the cover art for the Iron Age… it's definitely not typical. wait until the LP drops… the cover is gonna be sick.

Thoughts? Please do say something: