Posted on November 19, 2009 -
I read a short review in this month’s Maximumrocknroll magazine claiming that it was one of the staffers’ fave albums of the year. The guy or gal compared it to real classic and disparate albums, so I felt really stoked and decided to check it out… Now, first thing I thought when I heard it was that I’m now officially old and jaded: I’ve been listening to thrash music forever, since, back in ‘84, I first discovered Metallica’s Ride the Lightning, Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales,and Venom’s Welcome to Hell- a pretty decent way to start, wouldn’t you say so?.. Those were the albums that made me laugh at my previous classic metal fanaticism (now I think otherwise, except for Maiden, who I’m really sick and tired of!),and took me for a ride till i found the ‘real’ thing (whatever…): peace punk, crustcore, 70’s obscure/heavy/psych gems, you name it… What I’m trying to say is that,for a kid just getting started, this album might actually be the equivalent of a tremendous education, but, please, let me name the great stuff the reviewer compared it to, because I really believe the guy was on cheap drugs, and I strongly suggest you go out and check these cool albums first: Motorhead’s Iron Fist: hmmm, well, yes, Iron Age are a fast bunch, but they lack the blues, and that is first and foremost what Motorhead used to be ’till, maybe, 1988: a blues band on amphetamines- and this is actually a fact; Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All: this is more like it, as the riffing is quite similar to the stuff displayed on that great garage metal masterpiece of yesteryear, BUT, sadly, Iron Age lacks catchiness and melodic intent, and that’s probably because they need to revisit the stuff that influenced thrash metal in the first place: UFO, early Scorpions, Diamond Head, Budgie,Hendrix, Discharge,Kiss, etc… Really, I think it’s high time people stopped trying to be tough just because it’s cool to be if you’re a metal head- now is the time to create a new space for real soulful singers- and i’m not talking about those christmas carol fanatics that wither in the power metal scene (no Helloween in my book, sorry!)- i’m still talking ’bout the blues- as in Phil Lynnot, Phil Mogg,Gillan, Coverdale, etc… In other words: start singing, people- the cookie monster vocals are now a sorry cliché; Sabbath’s Sabotage: well, yeah, maybe, but only because there’s lots of slow parts on Iron Age’s album. However, Sabotage is not exactly slow: Sabbath was in a weird experimental phase, and their songs during that era are more like an amalgam of latter day psychedelia/prog rock and proto-80’s metal. I guess the guy meant Sabbath as a concept, or as a blueprint for doom metal, more likely referring to that great band’s first four albums; Cro-Mag’s Age of Quarrel: though I hate that album’s vocals, basically because I cannot help but picture a ridiculous nazi whimpering and whining (think the guy with the monocle in the classic TV show Hogan’s Heroes), the basic, primal garagey energy is pure punk rock, and Iron Age are more refined, which, sadly, makes ‘em pure metal-by-numbers; but the icing on the cake has got to be Flower Travelling Band’s Satori: man, at first I was blown away by this comparison- I mean, someone in Maximumrocknroll knows about this awesome and totally obscure Japanese legend. This would’ve certainly placed Iron Age on Kylesa’s territory, no small feat! But, well, no… Satori is still one of the weirdest heavy albums ever made, and its almost ’spiritual’ nature, is complete zen structure, will shine forever and give me peace of mind on the desert island I will sail to when the end of the world comes. Iron Age have some hypnotic moments, that’s for sure: check out the last song on the album, please. But since I’ll be taking my vinyl collection to that desert island, Iron Age will have to be swallowed into the abysmal debris of urban life and consumer-culture, along with hundreds of so-so records to be found in my apartment…
Let’s be fair, though: Nornmally, I don’t dig slow stuff on thrash/hardcore albums, but this time around this is just what I enjoyed the most- but the doomy riffs, pretty great in their own right, are closer to the Melvins and, of course, To Mega Therion- era Celtic Frost.
I’m tired of typing, and you’re tired of reading. All in all, a good album- check it out, but invest your money on the other stuff. I’m old and tired, but it could also be that rocknroll has become pure fashion for video game addicts- and that’s terrible news. People need to develop their imagination and creativity and stop being 80’s retro-fashion victims. We need new sounds in order to keep ourselves alive. Bye now!