25 November 2017

Iron Monkey - 9-13

I never thought I would get the change chance to review a new album by Iron Monkey.  It just didn’t seem possible for this legendary act to reform, let alone record music after their split in 1999 and the passing of their former vocalist Johnny Morrow.  But over the last year, I started to hear rumblings that Iron Monkey was reforming, this time as a three-piece with Jim Rushby on vocals and guitar, Steve Watson moving from guitars to bass and new drummer Scott “Brigga” Briggs.  I have heard a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about this album, saying that it is not right for these men to use the Iron Monkey name.  In my opinion, they can do what the hell they want, all they must do is make sure it doesn’t sound shite.  Let’s see if they have achieved this……

01 – Crown of Electrodes

Oh, how I have missed that guitar tone……

“Crown of Electrodes” feels like a kick in the face that is being dealt forever, never-ending aggression and a swirling vortex of pain.  This sludge heavy opening is exactly what you would expect from Iron Monkey, a swirling riff with lots of bass, a huge portion of drums and screams that have been missed for far too long.  If you are not filled with the urge to start a circle pit upon hearing this, you might be dead already.

02 – Omegamangler

“Omegamangler” has one of the sickest grooves of Metal I have heard in 2017, it’s huge riff that just keeps on giving from beginning to finish, always delivering the good and sounding loud as fuck!  It’s a straightforward number, no gentle introductions, just straight to the heart of the matter and sounding like bombs are dropping.  Exactly what you want from an Iron Monkey song!

03 – 9-13

With the briefest amount of feedback, “9-13” launches into action and we find Iron Monkey on attack mode once again, with a fantastic piece of sludge that will kick the shit out of any band who dared to come close to claiming their crown.  Whilst it might be slightly slower than “Crown of Electrodes” and “Omegamangler”, it’s just as fierce.  This is a song that sounds as if it's capable of starting a mosh pit in an empty room, it’s that good!

04 – Toadcrucifier - R.I.P.Per

Sounding like they are about to smash a hole through the walls, “Toadcrucifer – R.I.P.Per” is an emotionally charged timebomb, a track that sounds old-school and bang-up to date at the same time.  It’s a great number, full of those hooks that you always want from Iron Monkey, this is one of my favourite from the album, just because it sounds so beaten up and brutal.

05 – Destroyer

Five tracks and there is no let-up (to be honest, you wouldn’t want any) and “Destroyer” keeps up the fierce and brutal attack on the audio senses that is the calling card of Iron Monkey.  You’re not going into this song looking for comfort, you’re looking for some of the most brutal sludge in 2017, this is a good as anything else from this album.

06 – Mortarhex

I cannot help but love “Mortarhex”, it sounds like Armageddon has been unleashed a bit too soon and all the noise is reverbing around the world.  It’s a frantic number, the riff sounds like it is falling down some stairs, whilst holding a beer that it doesn’t spill, and then it gets up to start it all over again.  In keeping with the album, it never fails to impress after each listen, this is one of my favourite songs on the album.

07 – The Rope

Things get really heavy on “The Rope”, and that is even after what has been played beforehand.  “The Rope” is a repetitive riff that goes around, getting slower as the song goes on, with harrowing screams being laid over the song at various points.  This is one that will separate the casual fan from the noisy loving bastards.  It’s all low-end, reverbing like a motherfucker and as loud as one of those machines that tear up streets when it needs a new layer of tarmac, it's fantastic!

08 – Doomsday Impulse Multiplier

“Doomsday Impulse Multiplier” picks up the energy of the song, keep the fires burning on this record, dropping another Sludge Metal number on the listener, with another repetitive riff that has a droning quality and smash ’n’ grab style.  Whilst the riff is good, and the performance is as harsh as ever, “Doomsday Impulse Multiplier” is not as strong as other songs on this album. With that being said, it’s a loud and brash little bastard of a tune, so it is in keeping with the rest of the album in that regard.

09 – Moreland St. Hammervortex

“Moreland St. Hammervortex” brings the curtains down with a loud explosion of sound to begin with, then it drops the longest track of the album.  It’s a traditional sludge number, long periods of building, aggressive outbursts peppered about to cause eruptions of noise, vocals that will tear holes in your eardrums, the usual.  It needs a bit of time and a few spins to sink in, it’s not an instant classic by any means, but it’s still a good ending to this record.

9-13 is the sound of the terminally pissed off, the down-trodden revolting against the world, the primal expression of a fucked off generation with nothing to lose.  I love (for want of a better word) that they have come back together, and that this union has unleashed this untamed beast of an album.  Now, some people are going to compare it to their previous incarnation, which is a natural thing to do.  But it’s also something I have tried to avoid in a way, as Iron Monkey’s first run was such a tour-de-force that to compare them would be unfair.  They have stayed true to themselves, that is enough for me and then some.  Also, a lot of people might reject this, just because it's not the original line-up.  But to those people who have not listened to this for that reason, get over it!  This is a great Iron Monkey album, it does not fuck up their legacy, in fact, it brings a new dimension to it and what more would you want?  It's great to have Iron Monkey back in any form, having a new album is just the cherry on top of a huge cake.  Granted, the cake is toxic and will kill you, but that is always the risk you take with Iron Monkey anyway. Hopefully, there will be more to come, as this is a spectacular album!

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost......

Top track – The Rope

You can purchase 9-13 from the Iron Monkey page on the Relapse Record page on Bandcamp here.

You can purchase 9-13 from Amazon here.
You can follow the activities of Iron Monkey on Facebook here.

You can stream 9-13 on Spotify here.

You can stream 9-13 on Deezer here.

You can stream 9-13 on Tidal here.

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