Iron Lung - Sexless // No Sex (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Iron Lung

Sexless // No Sex (2007)


The problem with jam-packing 20 songs into as many minutes is one very similar to the problem faced by bands that have only two members -- keeping the sound of the album from growing stale. When each song hovers around a minute in duration and there's only two men playing as it is, frankly, there's only so many sounds and so many arrangements possible.

Luckily for Iron Long or anyone listening, that potential problem is prevented through the absolutely unrelenting assault of the band: a sonic blitzkrieg that gives not a single reprieve. "Pig Hands" sets the stage for what's to come by fluidly alternating between short, punchy outbursts of blazing guitar and scathing vocals to a slow and rhythmic pounding. It's an effect that makes the extremely short songs sound a lot longer than they actually are; 45 seconds quickly turns into a minute and a half of mayhem.

"Medic" is another song that employs this technique, though not entirely the same way. Iron Lung burst out of the gate with blazing speed liable to make your head spin, but halfway through, they settle again into a slow, but thunderously rhythmic gait. It's a dynamic that will appear again and again over the course of the album, and whether the songs are 30 seconds or a minute and a half, it works. That talent aside, the band is still at their best when absolutely unleashing hell.

Look no further than "First Night In" for evidence of how well Iron Lung play when they play to 11. The cacophonous and unpredictable drumming excites a torrent of rage in guitar and vocals; it's almost as if the three are battling to see which part of the music can be the loudest and the most destructive, and in that scenario, the winner is everyone listening.

Loud as Iron Lung's music is, it's almost mesmerizing. Through the heavy discordance and throat-searing vocals comes a peace of sorts, and the more manic the duo becomes, the clearer the broader picture is, and the more comfortable the sound actually becomes.

I'll be the first to admit having my doubts about this record. I doubted that it would be cohesive as it is, and really, I doubted that it'd be as enjoyable as it was. Too often power violence bands play to the hilt for every second of every song, showing ill regard for structure or any sort of continuity. Iron Lung strays away from that grain, and in doing so, crafted something as calming as it is calamitous.