Iron Age and Black Sheep Squadron…Posted on Thursday, March 2nd, 2006 @ 10:47am » permalink
Not 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:
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…