OK, kicking and screaming, dragging our legs, we delve full on into 2014 and the hundreds of releases ahead. I guess we had to go and do this eventually, right? And if we need something to kicks us awake and make sure we don’t slack ever, we have a damn nice split release for you today that just might have the same effect on you.
We all know Exhumed, right? Long running death grinders who have been beating the hell out of us for two decades now? They just released “Necrocracy” last year (another solid effort that we reviewed for you) and proved that they’re as hungry and as furious as they’ve ever been before. But how about Iron Reagan? This band just came together in the last couple years, combining members of bands such as Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour, and they put out their debut record “Worse Than Dead” on the rock-solid A389 label. Their style is hardcore-laced, nicely metallic, and politically and socially pissed off, sounding like a band that would have done really nicely in the late 1980s and early 1990s when that stuff was at its starting point.
So, what do these bands have in common? Other than their relentless sounds, they also happen to share a new split 12-inch that’s out now on Tankcrimes Records, and it’s a damn good time that’s over before you know it. The eight-track release (each band gets four songs) runs just a bit over 11 minutes, so you have no excuses about not having enough time to get obliterated, and it gives a nice look back at where Exhumed came from and where Iron Reagan perhaps are going in the future. It’s vicious, fast, and immediate, and it’ll bloody your nose.
We’ll start with Exhumed’s portion of the release since it’s the longest display of the two bands. “Gravewalker” kicks off with thick, penetrating bass, punchy thrashing, and vocals that switch back and forth from guttural growling and fierce shrieks. There’s a punk feel to this track, it’s pretty damn crushing, and it sets the stage for “Dead to the World,” a total speedfest with menacing shrieks, grindcore rolling into hardcore influences, and utterly violent growls. Then we move into two interesting, apropos cover cuts. First up is a take on Minor Threat’s “Seeing Red,” that they treat with fury and edginess, earthquaking playing, and threatening gang shouts. They finish with their version of Negative Approach’s “Ready to Fight” that is strong, raspy, and blistering. Oh, and a dog gets some time barking, which upset my own dog. See, even dogs can get pissed off over this. How can that be a bad thing?
Iron Reagan’s serving is short but effective, kicking off with the 54-second blast “Life Beater” that’s thrashy, fast, and nasty, with vocalist Tony Foresta howling with reckless abandon, matching his band’s sonic intensity. Then it’s onto “Gave Up on Giving a Fuck,” a mashing dose of punk thrash, with spirited backing vocals and clubbing ferocity meant to maim. That leads us to the epic of this band’s contributions, the 1:33-long “Mini Lights” that’s full of shredding guitar work and poisonous vocals that sound both accusatory and even a little insulting. But you’ll get over it because you’re a grown-ass adult. Closer “Holy Water Makes Me Wet” is a perfect example of the band’s combination of irreverence and slap-you-awake honesty, with pushy, shout-filled vocals and a killer crossover feel that could cause you to get decapitated in the pit. Reminds me a bit of “I Predict the Death of Harold Camping,” a song that CAME TRUE!
So we’re starting off 2014 with a short but sweet review about a compact release that is a total death party from two really good bands. It won’t take you long to listen, but it might take you some time to recover. Other way, this is definitely worth it if you need your ass kicked into gear and your motivation refilled after the long holiday malaise. Worked for me, and I’m as tired as they come.
For more on Exhumed, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial
For more on Iron Reagan, go here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/IRON-REAGAN/235448059864772
To buy the album, go here: http://tankcrimes.merchtable.com/music-vinyl/exhumed-slash-iron-reagan-split-vinyl-12
For more on the label, go here: http://www.tankcrimes.com/