Category Archives: Relapse

[pre-order] Iron Reagan – “Crossover Ministry”

Iron Reagan’s latest, “Crossover Ministry,” serves up a healthy dose of hardcore punk energy and attitude with thrash metal chops and aggression. Really the more that I listen to it the more Tony Foresta’s vocals remind of Tom Araya’s. It could also be that right now I’m listening to the track “More War” where Foresta alternates the title with sardonic battle cries of “let’s make more guns!” and “we live, you die.”

It’s pretty clear that Iron Reagan isn’t really going for the “evil” aesthetic like Slayer. The band does a much better job of capturing the overall spirit of hardcore punk. One can detect a touch of Black Flag and Fugazi  in some of the more biting lyric deliveries.

Take for example “Fuck the Neighbors.” Starting with a brief skit of a milquetoast neighbor wondering when the band’s loud party is going to end, the song counters with a steady pounding of muted eighth notes  with Foresta barking, “Fuck the neighbors, fuck your yard, the more you complain, the more we go hard,” and “not my problem!”

With “Grim Business,” heard above, the dual guitar attack storms through what seems like an epic two and a half minutes. Most tracks on “Crossover Ministry” hover within the one to two minute range. “Parents of Tomorrow” is the briefest track, clocking in at only seven seconds.

The hardcore punk ethos comes out in the brevity of the songs. Iron Reagan doesn’t seem particularly interested in languishing on lengthy introductions, or constructing complex transitions into extended solos. Every song starts out urgently, and doesn’t let up before an inevitably abrupt close. Sure, there are guitar solos on many of the songs, but they are definitely not the focal point by any means.

Great album from start to finish, showing that Iron Reagan is able to shred, and not take themselves all too seriously. This is exactly the album that we need right now. Blistering, forceful, and even a little bit cynical.
Pre-order Iron Reagan’s “Crossover Ministry” and tour dates
And you can find “Crossover Ministry” in any number of formats both physical and digital on either the Relapse site, or the band’s own bandcamp page.

You can also find the band on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Finally, Iron Reagan has a bunch of shows coming up to promote “Crossover Ministry.” Check them out below:

—All dates 2/24 – 3/17 with Power Trip —
Feb 24 Houston TX, Walter’s
Feb 25 New Orleans, LA Siberia
Feb 26 Birmingham, AL Saturn
Feb 27 Raleigh, NC Kings *
Feb 28 Richmond, VA Broadberry *+
Mar 01 Baltimore, MD Soundstage *+
Mar 02 New York, NY Marlin Room +&
Mar 03 Pittsburgh, PA Spirit +$
Mar 04 Cleveland, OH Now That’s Class +$
Mar 08 Montreal, QC Les Foufounes Electriques
Mar 09 Ottawa, ON Brass Monkey
Mar 10 Toronto, ON Velvet Underground
Mar 11 Detroit, MI Marble Bar
Mar 12 Chicago, IL Reggie’s
Mar 13 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock
Mar 14 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville Mews
Mar 16 Kansas City, MO Riot Room
Mar 17 Oklahoma City, OK 89th Street Collective

*w/ Genocide Pact
+w/Concealed Blade
&w/ Krimewatch
$w/ Protester

— With Wrong & Night Birds 3/22 – 3/24 —

Mar 22 Orlando, FL Will’s Pub
Mar 23 Miami, FL Churchill’s
Mar 24 Tampa, FL Crowbar
Mar 25 Greensboro, NC Blind Tiger

Skinless – “Only the Ruthless Remain”

I have been waiting for the right album to come along so I could finally get to writing about some death metal. I’ve recently been feeding an addiction to the music of Cannibal Corpse, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them for about a month now. It’s just every day listening to at least three or four albums. And it’s frustrating because I don’t really feel like I could write about them until a new album comes out, as their most recent was released in 2014.

Thankfully, Skinless is releasing their first album in over 7 years today. The album is “Only the Ruthless Remain,” an unrelenting onslaught of brutal death metal. Skinless is astonishingly tight, moving between insanely fast shredding to thick and heavy dirges, without warning. And, like Cannibal Corpse, Skinless has a way of sneaking in some deft sweeps of technical virtuosity with quick rhythm and tempo changes, the occasional asymmetric meter, and at times an actually swinging rhythm section. The solos throughout are particularly interesting in that they aren’t perpetually seeking to blaze through a million notes in a few bars, but instead are often times tracing out expansive melodic lines.

The track “Serpenticide,” sets a good example for the sudden metric modulations and tempo changes that take place in several other songs across the album. This one also features an extended dual guitar line that seems to purposefully avoid finding any sort of stability, instead wandering over top of a rhythm that never seems to stay in one place for very long. Drummer Bob Beaulac’s drumming is rock-solid, and often explores subdivisions and borrowed rhythmic values inside those subdivisions that lend the feeling of a looser groove, but are actually firmly in place the entire time.

You can hear “Serpenticide” as well as “Skinless” in the player above. Like I said, the album is out today and you can pick from any number of formats from their bandcamp page. The album is available as a digital download, 2 different kinds of colored vinyl, or as a CD.

And, yes, their new guitarist is named Dave Matthews, but it should be pointed out that he is definitely not the shitty acoustic guy.