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Archers of Loaf "Icky Mettle" CD

Posted on Friday, January 18th, 2008 @ 6:45am » permalink

Archers of Loaf - Icky MettleArchers of Loaf formed in the early-90's in North Carolina and released four full-lengths and a slew of EP's before calling it quits around 1998, and here's another band that I didn't really get into until way late, and again I'm not exactly sure why, because I was exposed to their material many, many times over the years, it just never really clicked with me until a couple of years ago. The guy that drove me to school for a portion of my senior year of high school used to listen to this band almost every single day in the car, and while I don't recall being averse to them at the time (I was probably just glad he listened to something that wasn't "normal"), I know I didn't really care for them – after all, I was listening to a lot of death metal and getting into more and more hardcore at the time. But what's weird is that he must have been listening to their debut album, "Icky Mettle" – which was released in late-1993 on Alias Records and would've been the only Archers of Loaf album out at the time – as that's the album that eventually won me over, and remains my favorite of their output to this day.

Looking back, I guess I can understand why I didn't "get it" way back then. The production wasn't crisp enough, the playing was far too sloppy, it's all just so… noisy. And, well, not metal, ha, ha! I mean, I was all over Cynic's "Focus" (which pretty much turned my world upside down in 1993), Carcass' "Heartwork", Morbid Angel's "Covenant", and I'm sure a hundred other such records at the time. I was not all over anything that had anything to do with jangly, angular indie rock of any kind, you know what I mean? So, yeah, it took some time. Too much time, mind you: I definitely should've been able to properly appreciate the brilliance of this material at least five years earlier than I finally did, but it was just one those time and place things. It happened when it happened. And as usual, when something like this takes place, I feel like a complete moron, because when it all does fall into place I don't understand why I didn't hear it that way all along!? I mean, when I finally decided to make an effort to check out this album, I was pretty much instantly hooked, and immediately understood what all the fuss had been about.

You know, you'll read all those stupid phrases like "indie darlings" and all that shit that regular people would never actually say about a band unless they were being sarcastic, but you still get it. Because somehow – and especially on this album – these guys were able to take these raw, noisy, roughly recorded, ruggedly performed, fucked up little twisted and discordantly textured melodies and craft perfect fucking songs out of 'em. It's really strange how catchy and energetic but still kind of moody and emotional and overall well-balanced the material is. And that's what totally hooked me the most in retrospect. Because you kind of form these preconceived notions about music like this – that it's just kind of grating, a little irritating, overly sloppy and crude (which all sounds too harsh, but we are talking about preconceived notions here, and that's often how the story goes there) – but the quality of the songwriting and that balance really shatters all of that. Not that elements of those characteristics aren't present, because they are, but that's what makes it so interesting and weird and just fuckin' awesome. I don't know. It took more than a decade, but I'm a huge, huge fan now…

Archers of Loaf "Web in Front"
Archers of Loaf "You and Me"
Archers of Loaf "Slow Worm"


@ Alias Records
@ Amazon.com
@ Amazon.com (mp3)


  1. tim says:

    Heard the name before but never checked, the songs sound really good, especially the last one 'slow worm' hit me instantly. Good stuff, going to read some more about this band.

  2. POI says:

    I only every heard american nightmare's cover of You & Me, which is fantastic. Deffo gonna check out these guys.

  3. Dick says:

    I've been listening to AoL since they released "Vee Vee" in 1995 and they're still growing on me. They were and will never be my favourite band, but they put out some really great indie rock that has been sadly overlooked. Just like Chavez.

  4. Mikel says:

    American Nightmare played "You And Me" and after that i was all over this band.. AN Lauded them as a (major) influence, and you'll hear that as soon as you've been through one of their records. Although Icky Mettle is arguably their best record, White Trash Heroes is still my favorite. Amazing band.

  5. eric says:

    web in front was played at the end of Mall Rats

  6. Fergus says:

    Oh I love this band. Vee Vee is just a little better than Icky Metlle, in my opinion. I love all that 90s sloppy indie stuff.

  7. prayforsnow says:

    Before I know this album, I went to a show these guys were headlining at UCONN, it was sometime around 94. I left before they played. Several years later, I really started listening to this album, and to this day it's one of my favorites. I've kicked myself many times for leaving that show early.

  8. watsonmason says:

    Eric Bachmann is still going with Crooked Fingers and his own solo stuff if anybody's interested. His songwriting was so much better than most of the 1990s bands back then, especially Vee Vee and All the Nations Airports. With Vee Vee, you could feel his frustration with corporate rock of the day with music about being an "indie" rock band. Totally nostalgic for it.

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