Fuckin? Iron Monkey. From their mid-?90s inception to their late-?90s end, they were always a litmus band, testing the scientific proposition, ?How much abuse can the human ear take?? Plenty of people out there say they like Eyehategod. A few of them might even mean it. But if you?re walking around with an Iron Monkey backpatch, that?s a different level entirely. You?d best be on board the whole way, lest the gods of sludgy justice deliver a boot-stomp ass-whooping from on high. Because that?s how they roll.
In their wisdom and might, Earache Records has seen fit to compile and reissue the two full-length documents of the UK outfit?s audio cruelty, taking the individual 1997 self-titled and 1998?s Our Problem and boxing them together with their final We?ve Learned Nothing EP (put out on its own and as a split with Japan?s Church of Misery by Man?s Ruin in 1999) and the cover ?Cornucopia? taken from Earache?s 1997 Black Sabbath tribute, Masters of Misery — which, if you don?t own, you should. Even over a decade later, the two-plus Iron Monkey albums are vicious and unfriendly, unbridled in their disgust and contempt for, well, whatya got?
If there?s anything retained in both Iron Monkey and Our Problem in the years since their release — other than the stellar drumming of Justin Greaves, who later went on to join Electric Wizard and form the artsy dark folk collective Crippled Black Phoenix — it?s the raw anti-sociability of the band?s sound. They didn?t invent what they did, but there was something to the fuck-all abrasion of songs like ?Web of Piss? and ?Supagorgonizer? that few sludge bands of their era managed to capture. Call it sincerity, call it just the right mix, it?s irrelevant at this point because, whatever it is, it simply is. At least we have it on these two discs.
Guitarist Steve Watson discusses the underground leanings of the band in his liner notes and how particularly their vocalist, the late Johnny P. Morrow, didn?t want to sign to Earache because they were too mainstream (consider the time and the label?s mid-?90s partnership with Columbia Records), but even considering that and the unceremonious dissolution of Iron Monkey, the band?s cult status is well earned. These albums could have come out on Universal with a $15 million marketing budget and they?d still be underground. They were not fit for mass consumption then and they certainly aren?t now, and since Iron Monkey broke up before their sound became watered down or tired, their legacy remains in tact and fully represented here. Recommended for those who mean it when they say they hate everyone.
Tags: Earache, Iron Monkey, UK