Iron Age - Constant Struggle (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Iron Age

Constant Struggle (2006)


I can respect a band who holds absolutely nothing back on their debut effort. It's fine for an EP or 7" to whet an appetite, but when it comes time for that album to be released, it had damn well better bring it. Simply put, Iron Age bring it. Reminding of such metal-infused hardcore pioneers as the Cro-Mags and Agnostic Front, the Texas upstarts hold your attention for half an hour of unwavering intensity.

Vocalist Jason Tarpey has a very firm grasp on what it means to be an intense but varied front-man. His mid-level scream has a very good range to it, many times even seemingly emulating former Earth Crisis front-man Karl Buechner's trademark wildcat scream. More importantly, it suits the music behind him to an absolute tee. Taking heavy cues from Leeway, Iron Age are that perfect level of heavy, that kind of sound that just makes you shake from all the rage built up by song after song.

The entire record helps to create that feeling, with blistering solos, and hard-hitting riffs from the start to finish of every single song. The combination of Steve Norman and Wade Allison is a formidable one, creating the perfect mix of great metal solos and hard-hitting progressions. "Evil Ways" begins with some extremely quick and dissonant riffing, before leading into a slowed down bridge that lets the drumming of Reed Thomas make itself known. The cohesion between band-mates is more than apparent with each passing minute of the listen, and each song is able to offer something new. At over five minutes, "Butcher's Bill" is the longest song on the record, and does nothing but impress after the quiet and humble beginning. Once it launches into some heavy, repetitious riffing, and Tarpey's vocals enter the fray, the song keeps on picking up steam, before finally unleashing a wicked guitar solo right at the end of the track. "Brainwreck" leads in with some thick bass work, and everything slowly takes shape, until the vocals come in, a bit more understated than everywhere else on the record.

The previously mentioned diversity really helps this record maintain a replay value it may not have otherwise had. An extremely solid effort all the way around, and one of the best hardcore records of the year thus far. Refreshing to see a band with equal grasp on their roots and the future.