West Virginian duo Iron Jawed Guru will release their debut EP, Mata Hari on Jan. 29 through Grimoire Records. The seven-track/24-minute offering is bound to draw comparisons to Karma to Burn, and fairly enough so. The guitar/drum two-piece of Mike Lorenzen and Roy Brewer post up straightforward heavy rock grooves, light on frills and weighted of tone — Grimoire‘s Noel Mueller captures that tone fully and crisply — and between that and the fact that until early this year they actually featured current-KTB bassist Eric Clutter, yes, there are some lines to be drawn from one crunching outfit to the other.
That does not mean, however, that Mata Hari is without its own personality. The inherent rawness of working as a two-piece — though they’re not hurting for low end — and moments like the post-thrasher creep riff of the title-track demonstrate that, while formative, Iron Jawed Guru‘s approach is intent on finding its own path. This works to the immediate benefit of these songs, from the bouncing insistence that quickly takes hold with opener “Quake” through the more spacious feedback-into-full-rush that rounds out the finale of “Vesuvius,” Lorenzen and Brewer provide subtle depth of tone and a focus on forward momentum while keeping to as unpretentious an aesthetic as possible. Front to back, the EP is like plug and play. Turn it on and off you go.
In the spirit of the release itself, I’ll keep it quick and to the point, but it’s worth recognizing that along with their straight-ahead drive and the linear feel of the EP as a whole, Iron Jawed Guru leave room for some well-placed shifts, like the post-grunge guitar melody on centerpiece “Gemini” or the pull-back largesse of “Navajo,” giving Mata Hari a richer overall context. Still. experienced listeners will have no trouble getting where they’re coming from, and from the friendly riffing of “Aftershock” to the fact that it was recorded in a junkyard garage, to the fact that the release takes its name (and artwork, with photos by Clutter) from a pinball machine in that same garage, the low-bullshit-heavy-riffs vibe is pervasive across the board. You won’t hear me complain.
Get a sampling with the track premiere for “Quake” below, and enjoy. EP is out Jan. 29:
Iron Jawed Guru is a power duo of heavy, in your face, instrumental groove rock.
“Mata Hari” is a 7 song, instrumental EP clocking in at ~25 minutes, featuring NO BASS, just a touch of an octaver pedal on guitar to fill things out.
This EP will be released digitally and on CD by Grimoire Records on 01/29/16.