Hailing from Austin, Texas, Iron Age has apparently taken that community’s inherent sense of musicianship and come up with an intricate palate of guttural riffing and clever guitar harmonics. These guys must be on the road constantly—and it shows with this, their second full-length, The Sleeping Eye.
Alternating between hardcore shredding and sludgy nodding, Iron Age sounds like the van is fueled by an old Cro-Mags tape and a case of Bud Heavy. But the surprise is really in the hands of a vocalist who barks like an obedient metal frontman while hiding a bit of range, which would come in handy now and then.
The Sleeping Eye gets monotonous in places, particularly when several of the tracks exceed the five-minute mark if only to appear epic in length rather than substance. The biggest culprit is “The Way Is Narrow” which rumbles aimlessly on for eleven minutes, two and a half of which are marred in silence before returning with the “Surprise! We’re back!” reprise at the end.
When Iron Age gets creepy (“Dispossessed”) and when they start kicking things in the ass (“Arcana pt. 1”), they manage to really turn heads. Given the fact that The Sleeping Eye‘s cover art looks like it was haphazardly assembled and that the production sounds like it too was merely an afterthought, Iron Age needs every single head-turning moment to rise above an already crowded circuit of smart, underground metal bands.
The Sleeping Eye shows that Iron Age has the metallic muscle to become one of those notable bands touring the circuit right now. At the same time, it also shows that their next step should be to construct an album that will make those complacent headbangers want to show up on a weeknight to see if they can outdo what’s been committed to tape.