|Crossover Thrash, Death Metal, Grindcore, Hadcore Punk
January 7th, 2014
Release length: 11:40
Up first is Exhumed, and fans of the group will already know to expect from the very beginning. “Gravewalker” introduces some solid two-stepping Crossover material that mix their raspy and guttural vocals perfectly to a flawlessly upbeat and aggressive audio assault. The song holds a distinctive rebellious Punk touch that makes the gang growls all the more hostile, and causes the sudden shift to Grindcore later flow naturally. “Dead to the World” drops that fun atmosphere for a more standard Death Metal performance done right with catchy riffs and a brief moment of grinding, while “Seeing Red” has a more aggressive traditional Grindcore foundation that can cause headbanging, but that memorable overall. “Ready to Fight,” however, sounds like a raw last-minute addition, finding extra echo on the vocals that compliment the largely Punk performance and blast beat fuelled chorus. The live sounding track ends with a little dog barking, adding a humorous contrast to the lyrics that are meant to be intimidating.
And then there’s Iron Reagan, who features Darkest Hour drummer Ryan Parrish, ANS guitarist Mark Bronzino, Hellbear bassist Rob Skotis, as well as Municipal Waste‘s guitarist Landphil Hall and vocalist Tony Foresta. The latter of those bands has a presence felt immediately on “Life Beater.” The sharp buzzing adds to the hostility, and matches the shouting quite well. Sadly the music does sound a bit hollow here, as well as most of the furious “Holy Water Makes Me Wet,” neither pushing the attitude necessary like “Mini Lights” does. This one is a faster slab of Hardcore tenacity with some complexity that fans of the style will eat up, which is complimented with the infectious Crossover Thrash riffs that hit about half-way through.
Sadly, Iron Reagan‘s somewhat hollow sound isn’t the only problem to their side. “Gave Up on Giving a Fuck” literally sums up this track and the band’s possible attitude towards it perfectly. It has some deeper distortions that really do help enrich the music and make you wish the band had used this approach more than the sharper style that make up their other three entries. While this is one positive element to this specific song, it’s the only redeeming factor next to the harmonized chanting. “Gave Up on Giving a Fuck” never seems to go anywhere. The performance just seems stagnant and stationary right from the moment it starts, making it the frosting on the far-from-impressive cake they cooked up for this split.
When you hear about the members that make up Iron Reagan, you expect the best possible outcome no matter what, especially when paired with Exhumed of all bands. Sadly, they only managed to drop the ball. Yes, some of Exhumed‘s material was a little sub-par, but even their most traditional track “Seeing Red” still managed to offer the listener something to bob their head along to and actually contribute to the impact the band’s four songs made. While not a complete waste of vinyl, this release overall is far from impressive, only holding three, maybe four songs that really will grab the listener and make the purchase worth while. Of course only one of those belongs to Iron Reagan. Unless your a rabid fan of either band, or a junky who has to hear or own everything that band has to offer, this is one best left waiting to catch on sale, clearance, or in a discount bin somewhere, though it may sell out before it would ever reach one of these stages.
01. Gravewalker – 2:29
02. Dead to the World – 2:18
03. Seeing Red – 0:53
04. Ready to Fight – 1:13
|Initial Pressing Score: 5/10