• Iron Reagan - The Tyranny of Will (2014) - Half hour of power - 88% (10/02/15)

    Iron Reagan - The Tyranny of Will (2014)

    Iron Reagan is a quintet from Richmond, Virginia, consisting of band members from groups such as Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste. Since its foundation three years ago, the band plays an energizing mixture of hardcore punk, thrash metal and a shot of dirty hard rock. Imagine a mixture of The Subhumans, early Anthrax and early Motörhead and you might come close to what these guys are playing. The lyrics feature a balanced mixture of absurd nonsense humour and politically or socially inspired messages. The crazy package is rounded up with a few mean cover artworks honouring Ronald Reagan situated somewhere between disrespect and sarcasm. The idea behind the band is nothing new as this kind of crossover had already animated bands such as D.R.I., Mucky Pup, Stormtroopers of Death and The Accüsed back in the wild eighties but Iron Reagan plays its music with so much authenticity, humour and rage that they should conquer anyone who likes some of the numerous aforementioned bands above by storm. Let’s add that this kind of music is meant to be played live. If you can get the chance to see this quintet in concert, your experience will be even greater than listening to one of its two regular studio albums, one EP, one demo or the split with Exhumed. Anyone who can’t enjoy the band on stage should wait for a live release which would be a conciliatory option.

    This album has a great flow over its short running time of around thirty-two minutes and twenty-four songs plus an optional bonus track. Those who like fast hard rock should fall in love with the tight “Close to Toast” which comes around with one of the most gripping riffs on the entire album and one of the few great guitar solos. “Bill of Fights” stands most for the old school hardcore punk spirit of the band as it features fast, repetitive and simple riffs as well as a slightly more melodic and slower bridge with a pumping rhythm section and rebellious lyrics sung by a furious singer that is supported by enthusiastic gang shouts. Those who are looking for thrash metal inspired by the early eighties should enjoy the closing “Four More Years” which has the longest running time by clocking in at exactly four minutes. The melodic mid-tempo riffs are atmospheric, brutal and gripping throughout the entire track and lead to an almost epic sing-along chorus where the pissed off main vocalist is once again supported by powerful gang shouts. While the entire album is a unchained fun ride, this album closer is an instant genre classic that people should still remember in the future.

    Those who are saying that this record lacks contemporary quality standards, genre diversity and uniqueness are wrong. While the production sounds mean at first sight one can perfectly hear all instruments and the dynamical sound is a perfect mixture of the spirit of the past and the elevated technical standards of the present. The band always comes around with a few surprises here and there as in the nasty punk track “Consensual Harassment” featuring sleazy female vocals performed by Luna Duran. Despite its honest old school attitude, the band forges its own identity by including several concise excerpts from political speeches or short radio play passages at the beginning of a handful of tracks that may give you some food for thoughts or simply make you laugh out loud. The band is spreading its pleasure like an enjoyable disease.

    If you feel ready for a fast-paced hardcore thrash fun ride somewhere between sarcasm and social criticism for an entertaining half an hour, there is probably no better contemporary release than Iron Reagan’s second output. Don’t forget to bring something to drink, prepare enough space for a potential mosh pit, warn your neighbours if you like them, invite a couple of friends and crank up the volume to fully enjoy this record.

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