Earache: a label that was always rather unpredictable. A label that would release a new Bolt Thrower album in all its grinding fury in January, and a totally hypnotic material from Scorn the next month. According to the rumors, the constant, almost fascist dictatorship of their owner Dig always defined the direction of their A&R efforts. But things being said left alone, Earache have continually been releasing material well above the average. Just think about the number of bands that put out their albums through Earache that'd later be treated as the classics of the genre - Napalm Death, Carcass, Fudge Tunnel, Godflesh, Brutal Truth, Morbid Angel; this list goes on and on no matter how much it makes you twitch. But in 1997 Earache seems to be taking a rather radical turn towards pushing more and more gabber bands, which I personally find dull, and lacking any commitment to metal. However, with the release of the debut of this obscure English "hatecore" band (well, I had to use the term since it was coined by Alex Newport and...well, read on) the label has redeemed itself. The name is totally deceiving - I bet you'd expect another Black Sabbath clone with a grand total of zero interest in being anything else but a part of the trend.
Oh, how wrong you are. Iron Monkey is the King Kong of the extreme scene. They are what Crowbar will never be and Fudge Tunnel could have become if they had more musical stamina. You could say that they tend to get very close to what EyeHateGod used to sound like on their early albums;but I don't think it's entirely true. The freaks from Louisiana seem to be putting more emphasis on their Black Sabbath influences, with its psychedelic strain being the basis for the majority of the riffs. Iron Monkey is definitely a product of the punk scene. Notably, they chose to express their emotions by crawling through the dirt with the snails pace, which just adds to the agonizing power of their material.
Their music is a barrage of the riffs stitched together by the relentless vocal assault. This is what Japanese scene has always been famous for - singers willing to choke on glass shards piercing their lungs. Forget black metal screamers trying to convince you that they are the shit. No, sir, Iron Monkey are what desperate evil is all about. It is lustful and unmerciful in its wake. The pain will not be sharp, no - it is dull. Ever tried cutting your veins with a car key? Ever had a rotten roll of sushi 5 times a day to make you puke your insides out? These little niceties of this existence best describe what these English bastards strive for in their musical expression.
What I especially liked about Iron Monkey is their insistence on putting constant pressure on the listener. Really, they don't give you any kind of break. "Big Loader" is the middle song of the record - and the most brutally persistent in its desire to make you stop listening to it. Seriously! This is anti-commercialism in its ultimate form. Pure nihilism is what does wonders for this band. Straight hate delivered in a way of denying any other endings but the ultimate demise of all that you have ever cared about before the descent into the inorganic inferno. Proceed with injection of hard drugs. I couldn't help but think that had this album come out 2 years ago, "Trainspotting" would've naturally had a perfect soundtrack.
Six pieces of flesh-incinerating sonic torture were served with this fine piece of shiny plastic. Sloth oozes from this recording and makes it a blessing in disguise. Never too fast to prolong your self-inflicted agony;Iron Monkey deserved that pentagram that adores the CD. A total stoner vision as infernal as H.R. Giger ever wanted it to be, this English quintet of bastards made up for Earache dropping Bolt Thrower and Vader to sign Ultra-Violence and Anal Cunt. After all, I've never seen as much pain as they manage to cram into 6 songs. The hell that they apparently have been through is totally mesmerizing; like a ridiculous 70's movie about zombies and giant women, this album has the quality that makes it effectively timeless. Convulsions that cause your intelligence to reduce itself to the pile of melting snow - listen to Iron Monkey and find the relief if one still exists in this Universe. Or even a good commentary on the dismal state of our lives. Remember - "this junkie monkey….". Yep, this time it's made out of something much more solid than brass.