Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

Despite being from Greensboro, North Carolina, only around four hours from where I live in southeastern Kentucky, I have never seen IRATA live.

Though barely 250 miles separate us, the truth gets even more ridiculous, as IRATA plays in my vicinity pretty regularly. Hell, they were just 75 minutes from me two weeks ago, but I’ve never caught them on a stage. I am determined to see this injustice righted. If all goes according to plan, this will happen when we both converge in Pittsburgh for the third annual DESCENDANTS OF CROM event, co-sponsored by Riff Relevant.

Less than one week away, things are set to take place at Cattivo’s on Saturday, September 21st and Sunday, September 22nd… with a Pre-Gala event at Howlers on Friday, September 20th. In case you haven’t noticed, you are in the tail end of an article series I like to engage in, where we spotlight some of the bands we’re eager to see live for the first time.


IRATA fits those criteria, of course, but what they do not fit into is a clean or neat genre category of least resistance. That is because the band has pretty much stylistically explored it all since their founding in 2007, with Jon Case (bass, vocals) and Jason Ward (drums, vocals) as the ever-present constants over the years. Owen Burd (guitar, vocals, trumpet) and Cheryl Manner (guitar) complete the current incarnation of the band and 2019 has seen IRATA deliver what may be their best work yet, the Small Stone Records release, ‘Tower‘.

Open in Spotify


Upon this most appropriately titled structure, there is an exploration of soaring riff rock, groove, and progressive factors far above the heads of many. Tight and enthralling, there is both heaviness and headiness permeating various moments making up the ‘Tower‘ record. This has not always been so though, as prior outings from IRATA found the band careening through math metal melded with atmospheric sludge or metallic-tinged alternative rock.

Tower‘ is preceded by the albums ‘Sweet Loris‘ (2015), ‘Vultures‘ (2014), ‘Split 10″‘ w/ Solar Halos (2014), and the release from their early days as an instrumental band, the self-titled ‘Irata‘ (2010). A listen to all of these albums or just an investigation of a single one of them, will be more than enough to convince you of the sonic specialty that IRATA is and possess.

Open in Spotify


It should also provide you with both examples and reasons as to why I am excited about the prospect of getting rocked out by IRATA when they play Day 1 (Saturday) of DESCENDANTS OF CROM III. Truth is, all of next weekend’s bands bring something to the table.

In case you’ve not seen the news yet, THE OBSESSED was just announced as an addition to the festival. I suggest you come out and experience this true underground event and below, you will find all the information, details, and other particulars you may need to know about making that happen.



Friday, Sept. 20th – Pre-Fest Gala @ Howlers

Icarus Witch, Fox 45, Enhailer, Void King, Motometer, Submachine

Saturday, Sept. 21st – Day 1 @ Cattivo

The Obsessed, Valkyrie, Irata, Argus, Foghound, Kingsnake, Sun Voyager, Potslammer, Witchkiss, Tines, Pillars, Night Vapor, Action Camp, Coma, Old Dream

Sun., Sept. 22nd – Day 2 @ Cattivo

Brown Angel, Solace, Backwoods Payback, Brimstone Coven, Frayle, Leather Lung, Spacelord, Lightning Born, Killer Of Sheep, Pale Grey Lore, Riparian, White Alice

Tickets can be purchased on the DESCENDANTS OF CROM website.


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