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Ironside: Discography

Posted on Friday, August 8th, 2008 @ 12:00am » permalink

Ironside: DiscographyA few weeks ago I made a quick post in search of some material by Ironside, an early-90's UK "holy terror hardcore" band that I recently discovered thanks to Am I Mean?. I vowed to do a proper post on the band once I got my hands on all of their material, so… here it is! Several people got in touch with me to lend a hand (many thanks, one and all), and among those who contacted me was actually Ironside frontman Richard "Arms" Armitage, so I asked him to provide a little rundown on the band since I've been very sadly in the dark all this time and have very little background to work with here:

Ironside started in 1992 in Bradford with a bunch of longtime skate punks. Our first gig was with Sick of it All at the 1 in 12 Club the first time they ever came over – imagine them playing an anarcho collective. We played a lot around the UK, either with touring US hardcore bands or more importantly with new UK bands like Kito, Solace, Wartorn and Voorhees – all of whom have members still active in hardcore today. We did a couple of Breakdown- and Sheer Terror-influenced demos, then got the "holy terror" thing nailed once Integrity did "Darkness" on the "Only the Strong" 7" compilation.

We played in Belgium later in '92 and blew away all the '88 straightedge kids there, which laid the foundation for the H8000 thing. No one was doing slow, chugging metal with deep vocals and no recognizable straightedge lyrics at the time, except Ironside.

In 1993 we did the "Fragments of the Last Judgement" 7" – our four career best songs. Then a few of us started drinkin' and some original members left for various reasons. I played guitar and sang for awhile, until we got a couple of metal guys in on drums and rhythm guitar. We took the Paradise Lost/Cathedral influences a bit too far and did the "Damn Your Blooded Eyes" 7" in 1994 at Academy Studios, where a lot of the northern doom metal bands recorded back then – My Dying Bride, Anathema, etc. The back cover photo is hilarious: A collection of nightclub bouncers, circus strongmen, and vampires.

Then we went to Europe for a month with Chorus of Disapproval, also in '94, which was the biggest mismatch ever – us listening to Sabbath on the booze, and them not. Good times, but when we got back it was over. I played guitar in Voorhees afterwards, and now in The Horror. It's always cool when people bring up Ironside when I'm touring.

I must agree that the "Fragments of the Last Judgement" 7" (Subjugation Records, 1993) is the band's finest work, but that's not to slag their other output in any way. In fact, I'd argue that the demos (collected on the "Ecstatic Ritual" CD in the mid-90's along with the aforementioned 7") sound even more like early Integrity, right down to that totally Clevo-sounding guitar tone! They definitely seemed to come into their own on the "Fragments…" EP, while "Damn Your Blooded Eyes" 7" (Stormstrike Records, 1994) is indeed more of a drawn out excursion towards doom metal (though it's not entirely a stretch to have envisioned such a progression, really).

I'm still just astounded that I had never even heard of this band prior to this. I mean, seriously, Ironside should totally be mentioned more often in the same breath as Integrity or Mayday or any of those bands that were doing this kind of dark, metallic hardcore in the early-90's, when the whole "holy terror" sound was still in its relative infancy, really. Absolutely criminal. This must be one of the single most underrated bands in the history of all living things, so I really hope this post gets the word out, 'cause I know there are a shitload of people like me out there that would flip over this material if they knew it existed! Here are a couple of tracks to give you a taste, if for some twisted reason you're not sold yet:

Ironside "Fever Pitch"
Ironside "Smothered Conviction"

If you like what you hear, the band's complete discography, which is all out of print and rather hard to come by, is available below:

[DOWNLOAD] Ironside discography (@ Mediafire)

Enfuckingjoy…

Also thanks to Tom for the following comment on my last little Ironside post, with some more "where are they now" tidbits:

• Arms (singer) went on to play guitar for Voorhees and now plays guitar in The Horror.
• Nick (drums) sang for Unborn (also on Lifeforce Records), played in various Sore Throat lineups, and played in Cracked Cop Skulls (with Napalm Death and Ripcord members, I believe).
• Doug (bass) went on to form Iron Monkey, who did some records for Earache. Last time I saw him he was managing bands like Funeral for a Friend and Raging Speedhorn, or something like that.
• Jim (guitar) went on to form Iron Monkey with Doug, as well as the amazing Hard to Swallow. He now plays in Geriatric Unit with members of Heresy.
• Tom (guitar) played for Baby Harp Seal (Fugazi/Hoover type stuff), who also recorded for Subjugation Records (Ironside's first home); relocated to Germany and played with Battle Royale (toured the US in '05); and now in plays in Cold War (Deep Six Records).

54 Comments...

  1. svein says:

    This band is fucking incredible. Goddamn flawless and as mean as a mangy old dog barking away on some barren hill somewhere. There isn't a single second-rate track on Ecstatic ritual.

    As for no one having heard of the band, I did see them in the thanks list on some Integrity record, seing as I sit around reading thanks lists.

  2. MattiCutdown says:

    I have never liked the vocals that much, but otherwise the songs are good.

  3. Marcus Garvey says:

    its not everyday you find out about a band that fucking rules. the bar was set high in my mind against them initially, with all the inevitable integrity and mayday comparisons. but goddammit i forgot about all that real quick. great stuff. all of it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    you should also hear hard to swallow if you haven't. sounds a bit like human remains or something like that

  5. Carlos says:

    tnx for the post and mp3s Andrew! This shit is great. I need to get some of this stuff somewhere but this would hard. Man I so fucking hate that so many records are out of print and you need to be fucking Chuck Norris to find them…

  6. blend77 says:

    awesome!!!

    thanks a ton for all the Ironside!!

  7. svein says:

    I hear Chuck Norris' wife has all the good records.

  8. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Svein, Carlos was certainly approaching your level of brilliance with that Chuck Norris line, ha, ha. Good stuff!

    Really glad people are digging this… absolutely.

  9. Nail_Bombed says:

    I've got a few The Horror and Voorhees CD's but never heard of this band. Must download. Cheers for the info man – very well put together. Love Integ so will quite possibly love this.

  10. Engrudo says:

    Thanks a lot for these albums! Absolutely awesome stuff that I didn't know. i'm really enjoying these guys

  11. Engrudo says:

    By the way I think you have already written here about Pale Creation from Painesville, OH, but hey, their album "Twilight Haunt" was dark and awesome too.
    A great band sadly forgotten.

  12. the pope says:

    thanks for mentioning my blog once again! I'm surprised that so many people like IRONSIDE! back in the days I always felt like I was the only one digging them!

  13. Paris says:

    This was new to me, too, and it is great stuff. Thanks for making the (short) discog available, it is all worth listening to!

  14. V. says:

    …awesome! very good post about Ironside … back in the days I was listing them alot … Andrew next are Mayday and Lash Out :)

  15. Engrudo says:

    I am unable to find Mayday stuff
    :)

  16. SON OF MAN says:

    Absolute class band, RIH is tooling around with a cover of Skincrawl for a record on a389. Bringing back the glory. So glad they are finally getting their dues.

  17. Andy says:

    engrudo, my band released a split with PALE CREATION seven years ago. those are also good songs. andrew did a review of that record back then. shit, that's quite some time ago!

  18. Engrudo says:

    andy, which was your band's name? I remember andrew wrote about a couple of pale creation demos, but I can't quite recall that split.

  19. AVERSIONLINE says:

    It was the Repugnant/Pale Creation split CD. I reviewed it on an earlier incarnation of my site many years ago, well before the blog even existed, heh…

  20. SOBASC says:

    I got that second 7 pictured if you want it!

  21. Carlos says:

    I almost became Chuck Norris's wife with bidding "Fragments of the Last Judgement" 7" on eBay but then I saw that there is still no turntable on my table so I bought instead Lash Out: What Absence Yields digipack for quite a low price. I mean the digipack was waiting for ME like the fat police sheriff in Rambo First Blood was waiting in the forest to be chocked by almighty hand of Johnny or several anonymous people were waiting to die in Starship Troopers when invading the "bug" planet(s).
    Now there is only around 300 records I have to buy so I can sell them after 10 years when I will need money to pay all the bills people get monthly. It's offtopic but why countries instead of supporting the poor people with money rather cut down the costs?

  22. Marcus Garvey says:

    ive seen the mayday stuff on ebay for not too much money. i got the STAPLEGUN record for 20 bucks off a guy in France. worth more than that to me.

  23. Manuel says:

    When they were on tour Tom had to hide his drinking habits to avoid shit talking concering the band's early "hard edge attitude". Man, the 90ies were funny. Ironside should be mentioned – together with Lash Out – more often in Europe; they were the first celebrating this style in Europe. Although I think it doesn't stand the test of time.

    The Mayday 10" is still available from JoJo from Stormstrike Records, please do NOT pay horror prices. Thanks.

    http://www.stormstrikerecords.com/

    And yeah, the Chorus rocked :)

    Greetings from the old continent.

  24. random dude says:

    i remember driving back from the aforementioned ieper fest at night listening to the ironside demo about 20 times, we only took it out to listen to the raid cd again..their show as amazing, in fact the only other bands i remember atm were abolition, blindfold and nations on fire, in that order.

    i brought back like 20 demos to sell in my distro and put out their cd in 95..tom later moved to berlin where he worked at coretex when i last talked to him. nick went on to start the legendary unborn, no idea what he's up to these days.

  25. Andy says:

    engrudo, if you hit me up with an e-mail address i can send you the mp3s of the REPUGANT/PALE CREATION split.

  26. Adam G says:

    Although I'm from Leeds and went to a few shows at the 1 in 12 club I just missed out on Ironside by a couple of years (getting into the metallic hardcore thing around '96). I think Nick Royles who it appears played in Ironside was a bit of a northern England hardcore legend. He also did the photography for Napalm Death's "Scum" album if I recall correctly.

    Andrew – I'd also recommend checking out a band called STALINGRAD who also frequently played the 1 in 12 club. They had a discography CD out on Armed With Anger records (RIP). I think you'd like 'em

  27. Carlos says:

    Stalingrad also did Patty We Kind of Missed you on Your Birthday. I think I quite liked it. Some time ago was still available through some smaller label and LP once in a while appeared on eGay. I think it's a little more "noisier" but have to check it again.

    Glad you mentioned it Andy G!

  28. SON OF MAN says:

    Stalingrad were pretty terrifying live, the split with Voorhess was a ripper for sure.
    At the time, the vocals seemed like the harshest thing i'd ever heard! Another under rated band from that period were Kito from the North East (middlesborough i think), definitely worth tracking down.

  29. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Stalingrad has a MySpace page so I'll check out a few tracks there, but Kito seems harder to find information on. Since they've been mentioned quite a bit now, what did they release? What kind of sound did they have? That should help to at least do a little digging…

  30. L.Ron says:

    damn, the tones they got on this stuff. stylisticly some songs could be sister songs to some Integrity. i aint bitchin'…..

  31. Adam G says:

    Andrew and others – there is some KITO stuff posted here: http://www.awarecords.ndo.co.uk/awa/mp3.html
    This is a very old web page now; the label finished a few years ago. Hopefully at least some of the mp3 links still work. Actually this page is quite a nice little document of Northern England mid 90s hardcore on this page (Nailbomb isn't the Max Calavera side project. Obviously!)

    SON OF MAN – Yeah, I saw Stalingrad once at the Royal Park in Leeds and was forewarned! The vocalist really got in the crowd and in your face, they were awesome live. I think I saw them supporting some US power violence band called Slobber. Not really relevant but I'm a a sucker for detail.

  32. xjustinx says:

    I have Ironside's first two 7"s, so I'm really pretty stoked to hear the entire discography now. It always seemed like they went way under the radar here in the US.

  33. Andrew van den Berg says:

    I saw Ironside in '94 in Groningen, Netherlands with the Chorus and i remember it to be so intense heavy, so slow and sludgy; a total opposite from the straight edge anthems from Isaac and Jeff. There were few people when Ironside played, and later on more people came to see the Chorus. A sign of the time, as Integrity had reared its head already amon the European crowds, but as stated indeed "they were under the radar". Incredible band

    Andrew

  34. Nick says:

    The first Ironside demo is actually not on the discog cd. It was 4 ramshackle songs recorded after being together for 4 weeks and as stated before it was heavily borrowing from Breakdown, Judge, Chorus, Cro-Mags and Sheer Terror. I've never read the comparisons to Mayday before and I guess in some ways thats pretty damn close. The first Mayday EP anyway. And not forgetting the first Clutch EP aswell. But that may be more down to my personal influences. Other comparisons than Integrity that I've read in reviews have been Amebix, Anti-Sect and Boltthrower. Hmmm. Though the worst has been 'imitators of Chokehold' who we pre-dated or 'below par Earth Crisis without the tunes, dive bombs and anthems' or 'Raid wannabes'.

    Thanks for the kind words, it was pretty cool during its time but for most people it hasnt dated well. Personally, I still dig the A side of the first EP, namely 'Skincrawl' and 'Feverpitch' and the 3 song demo that followed it and 'Concrete Contrast' and 'Focus' off the debuting cassingle.

    cheers, Nick

  35. Tom says:

    Hmm, funny to read all of that years after we did the records!
    For the record i never "hid" any drinking habits whilst on tour! Not that i give a shit but just to have it down for the record.
    Definitely check out the projects that have followed especially The Horror and Hard To Swallow as they fucking killed/ the Horror still do.
    I wonder if "random dude" is Rudi Mahn?
    Yes I'm still at Core Tex…
    cheers
    Tom

  36. good to see some Kito love on here, too. their sound developed a fair tad as they went on but if you want a pointer, imagine Infest's Fetch The Pliers stretched out over a set. Rob the singer's 'Rasputin stirring a big pot of evil' was a sight to behold, of course.

    Has anyone mentioned Suffer yet?

  37. svein says:

    Any chance one of you guys could provide a hookup for the first demo? As soon as I hear a Judge namedrop I'm all over it.

  38. AVERSIONLINE says:

    Obviously, I, too, would LOVE to hear that first demo if possible in some way or another!

  39. Emil says:

    Definitely a bargain bin gem. Got the "Fragments.." 7" for around $1 a while ago. Thanks for the post.

  40. Ironside where something else 'back in the day'. I saw them a whole bunch of times and they were seriously heavy. The recorings dont do them justice. I recall seeing them in durham once and arms asked me, or rather demanded that i buy a demo. He was bigger than me and intimidating as fuck.

    Looking back it's hard to belive i was scared as I now know him to be a dafty and have seen him in his underpants sereral times.

  41. Manuel says:

    Tom is right – I invented that rumor. :)

    @Tom: war nur Spazz… hahahaha.

    All other UK stuff from the 90ies should be featured here – sooner or later: Stalingrad, Hard To Swallow, Sedition, Canvas, Underclass, Strength Alone, Unborn, Statement (I' d like to hear the demos at the Apostles split 7" & LP time), Neckbrace, Lifer, Suffer, Ebola, Sawn Off, Health Hazard, Scatha, Slain, State Of Filth, Fabric, Spy Vs. Spy, Schema, Tribute, Vengeance Of Gaia, Slavearc, … I even like Headache

  42. THEY SHOULD GET BACK TOGETHER

  43. Jamie says:

    For anyone interested, Im currently trying to get together enough material to do a nice big comprehensive post on UK sXe and edgemetal on my blog. So far Ive got most releases from: xCanaanx, SlaveArc, Withdrawn, Evanesce, Unborn, Koreisch as well as the SureHand records compilation Justice for the enslaved and the Sobermind Animal Truth compilation.

  44. jerome says:

    just after i converting the fragment 7" to mp3 format i find this blog nice to see arms and nick still around i remember doug giving me the test pressing of the 7" {which ive still got the bradford secne was great to be apart of like most thing they move on the the memories remains me i still live in bradford myself and still see some of the old lads {Tony and izak and bez} }thanks jerome {and by the way clive hughes says hi }

  45. Pels says:

    Hi to all this is Pels writing from Milan – Italy. Someone can help me to find "What Absence Yields" album from the norwegian Lash Out? I've always been a metalhead since about a year ago that knew very well all stuff from the Cleveland kings Integrity (i adore them, i got all discography) then i totally felt in love with the Holy Terror wave..i got stuff from bands like Mayday, Ironside, Gehenna, Catharsis, Rot in Hell, Vegas, Ringworm and early All Out War but nothing from the norwegian guys. So i hope to find someone here that can illuminate me. Cheers.

  46. AVERSIONLINE says:

    "What Absence Yields" is now available digitally from Amazon.com and I believe iTunes as well:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-Absence-Yields/dp/B002DJ5JH0/

    Lash Out's other material is slated to be reissued by the Polish label Get By Records, but I haven't heard an update on the status in some time, so I'm not sure when it will finally see the light.

  47. Nick says:

    Just a quick note to say that Wrighty, who played in Ironside, Unborn and Voorhees passed away a few weeks ago. Not too sure what happened. With his passing in mind, I've decided to do an Ironside myspace. It's in its infancy. If people have any photos, videos, flyers etc of Ironside and particularly of Wrighty, then please scan them and send them to my email or just contact me. I wouldn't have bothered with a myspace for Ironside but with Andy in mind, perhaps it seems like the right time to do one.

    http://www.myspace.com/ironsideuk

  48. Son Of Man says:

    That's terrible news. Have always appreciated the early Ironside and first Unborn records that he played on. real shame.

  49. S. says:

    Sorry to hear about Wrighty. Untouchable band. Rest in peace.

  50. Oldie says:

    Here's another band that features an ex-ironside dood. I think they have recently split up now though. Killer demo. Check em out. Sorta crusty in places but then has some great metallic crunch parts. People say it sounds like Catharsis but I'm not sure

    http://www.myspace.com/avenuesofshit

  51. gaz says:

    i saw kito,stalingard,voorhees,health hazard and most of the awa bands in the 90's.Quality time for hardcore it didn't get much better than then.i heard rich(stalingrad) is working for some art project in bradford.anyone got a dead wrong discography esp the 2 tracks off the first strike comp?

  52. ironside were awesome they're music was powerful as well as they're imagery

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