Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
It’s their third offering in just as many years as well, following the band’s two previous EPs, ‘Iron Vessel‘ (2016) and the ‘Ironaut‘ self-titled début from 2015. The same trio of musicians that crafted those previous albums have returned once again for their latest outing.
Bassist and vocalist Erik Kluiber, guitarist Patrick McHugh, and drummer Ivan Najor have clearly melded into a more cohesive unit now, with a few years together under their bullet belts. One thing that definitely has not changed is the trio’s knack for crafting volatile songs laden with groove and diversity.
If you know anything about Ironaut coming into this latest review, it is the fact this three-headed beast plays a powerful concoction of genre-warping music. They make no apologies for taking a base foundation of stoner doom, then heaping piles of metallic thrash, acid rock, biker blues, and immeasurable groove upon it.
The groove bulldozers its way to the forefront right off the firing line of this EP with the introductory title cut, “Sick Stupid Lies“. Bluesy and fuzzy right out of the gate, the rhythms bob, weave and intricately wind themselves like a serpent.
A very noticeably different vocal style throws me off for a moment, its melodic, lighter fare is airy, but soon it’s like old times again. Kluiber’s raspy-inflected vocals unfold, with their periodic aggressive snarls intact of course, riding high upon the sonics beneath them.
It would seem that the first number was merely a warm-up. A primer if you will, as the second song “When The Sun Is Gone” ignites. The guys quickly get in the pocket with some tight-knit playing and thanks to Paul Fig, we can hear everything that is transpiring. Thunderous bass lines, incendiary guitar licks, and waves of crushing drum work permeate every moment. The lyrics’ seemingly social commentary is a damning assessment of people’s knee-jerk mindsets and knack for fly-by-night uncertainty.
For the closing selection, “World Of Shit“, a slower-tempo and much heavier density is immediately discernible. There’s an almost punk or hardcore type of style to the song, albeit one rippling with doomy depressions. In my opinion, Kluiber delivers his best vocal performance of the EP here, musically also, as the song has become my favorite of the three.
The turn toward more European-like power metal about midway through things is killer, too. Yet, you still don’t see the assault of speed metal guitars looming until they hit you square between the inner walls of your skull.
Ironaut delivers the goods yet once again as only they can, with flare and a unique sense of purpose. These guys are the very embodiment of the hard rock underground and as so, they remain a secret that many music fans are oblivious to.
That is so despite their sharing stages with some of the biggest names out there, ones like Pentagram, The Obsessed, Fireball Ministry, or Holy Grail. That said, their loss is our gain in the grand scheme of things and I invite you to stream Ironaut‘s ‘Sick Stupid Lies‘ EP via the Bandcamp embed below now.
You can purchase ‘Sick Stupid Lies‘ and other Ironaut releases at their Bandcamp page.