I cannot count how many metal and heavy records I've heard which have been ruined by inappropriate vocals. Everything will be rocking out just fine, until some whiny caterwauling comes in, in some desperate bid at airplay. It's bad metal, and it's bad pop music. Nobody wins, and the world is a slightly worse place for it.
Fayetteville, Arkansas' Eyes of Iron know their strengths, and play to them, on Against God’s Will, which combines elements of instrumental metal, post-rock, and post-hardcore, and is very much greater than a sum of its parts.
Against God’s Will has a lot in common with instru-metal powernauts like Pelican, Baroness, Torche and Russian Circles, as well as crunching post-hardcore outfits Botch and Cave-In. Somewhat ironically, Eyes of Iron sounds a bit better than the most recent efforts from Pelican and Russian Circles who seem worried about repeating themselves and losing their direction. Eyes of Iron have no such qualms, dishing out a non-stop onslaught of crushing, bone-shattering grooves like the absolutely insane opener "Talos," one of the hottest metal tracks I've heard this year. And there are no metalcore pop punk harmonies to stymie the results. This is pure rock fury reminding us of all that was good and unholy with metal and heavy music originally.
Jarod Satterfield's guitars will send you soaring into the heavens, as your frontal lobe is hypnotized with the layered and complex harmonies and counterpoint. It’s like listening to Bach through a Big Muff played at 160 bpm and Zeke Holiman's drums will crush any resistance you might have left. Seriously, this dude's double-bass blast technique is out of the stratosphere - tight, quick and relentless. Both musicians are launching out of the gate fully formed with fully professional instincts and ethic.
Eyes of Iron no longer live in the same time zone as their members have scattered for college all over the country. This may be your only opportunity to hear them in this incarnation, and it is not an opportunity you should pass up.
Being a dedicated and devoted psychedelic metal warrior for the past 15 years, I've been rather hurt and disappointed by the stasis post-rock and instrumental metal have found themselves in. There's so much opportunity in the bare bones of guitar, bass and drones, so much room for powerful, muscular minimalism, hypnotic rhythms, excellent musicianship, interesting ideas and great graphic design.
Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg, and intricate, advanced metallic music will make a comeback, even if only in the underground. And if you have not yet had the opportunity to hear how good heavy vocal-less music can be, here's your chance!
Eyes of Iron have thrown down the spiked gauntlet! Let's see who meets the challenge.
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