REVIEW: Goodnight Irene – Tyrant [2015]


Artist: Goodnight Irene

Album: Tyrant


Cold, calculating and unfeeling; the Tyrant rules with an iron fist and a callous heart. He knows nothing of compassion and is bereft of relent or remorse. He shreds the skin and breaks the bones of any who oppose him, letting nothing obfuscate his reign over all he sees. That is the true definition of tyrant, making the debut full length by Pennsylvanian punishers Goodnight Irene adequately named. Tyrant is a tremendous head on collision between riff-heavy death metal and back-buckling hardcore that gives birth to one of the greatest metallic deathcore experience since Salt the Wound’s Carnal Repercussions. Furious, blood-boiling fretwork flays the listener, tediously peeling back their skin while slam-tinted breakdowns and harsh visceral screams take swings at the listener’s ribcage like thirty-pound sledgehammers: all leaving no question of Goodnight Irene’s immense supremacy.

Tyrant is more than a simple mashup of metallic fretwork and chug-friendly breakdowns. Goodnight Irene carefully blend death and thrash metals to create sprawling scenes of sinister riffs and grooves, all over a canvas of speedy, technical percussion and writhing, low-down-and-dirty bass guitar. Goodnight Irene’s drumming leaves no stone unturned, bearing gifts of machine gun blast beats (which kick off “God’s Will Be Done” with a bang) and bouncy, break-neck bass drum patterns that display the percussionist’s penchant for tricky, tedious footwork (the closing sequence to “The Calm Before the Storm” is especially gifted in this area). While the kick drum beats and busts away with whatever candor Goodnight Irene choose, the band’s bassist bounces and booms right alongside it. Neither too loud nor absent in the mix, Tyrant is home to a medley of fun, fluid bass riffs that add a constant thickness to the band’s percussive elements and establish a strong anchor-like low end. This deep and dense low-end is more than just a chance for Goodnight Irene to show off the excellence of their drummer and bassist; rather, it is a base layer (pun intended) from which the band’s excellent and engaging guitarists can soar. Tracks like the instrumental “The Calm Before the Storm” do a marvelous job of displaying the band’s devastating diversity, ranging from classic and blues guitar to straight-up sinister death metal riffs, while “Abomination” is an aggressive lesson in destructive deathcore with no holds barred.

More important than where and what Tyrant reigns over is the voice with which is reigns–a voice that brings grisly, gruesome diversity to the band’s template of terrifyingly intense death metal-turned-deathcore. Goodnight Irene’s vocals element is neither their greatest attraction nor is it a weakness–instead, it is the icing on the crushing cake that is Tyrant, the means by which Goodnight Irene tell their story. Tyrant‘s vocals are a perfect mirror to its diverse instrumentation. Goodnight Irene range from shrill, ear-splitting shrieks to gruff growls, all the while relying on a harsh, hectic mid-range roar for the places in between. Where Tyrant is blitzing and brutally fast, there are boatloads of sky-scraping shrieks to keep up with the band’s lightning-like blast beats and skin-shredding riffs. However, during climactic, skull-caving breakdowns like those on “Heresy,” the high screams plummet into earth-shaking bellows that the listener can feel shaking their entire presence. While Goodnight Irene’s vocalist may not be earning any awards for the genre’s greatest or most intense, he is expertly talented all the same–the voice of a true Tyrant.

Goodnight Irene are the kind of metallic, riff-heavy Deathcore one might expect to see playing alongside 2008’s As Blood Runs Black or Salt the Wound: energetic and aggressive without dulling their edge with meaningless breakdowns. “DVA” is a dynamic example of how the band can drown the listener in dissonance and dense, suffocating heaviness without relying on riffs that could be written with Cheerios; while “My Will Be Done” is a well-balanced blend of chugged-out insanity and shred-friendly technicality. The band is diverse and talented at playing the entire metallic spectrum, heavy to atmospheric–something that has become a great rarity in the world of post-2010 deathcore. While Goodnight Irene will not earn accolades as the world’s heaviest, most brutal or most “tech,” they are without a doubt one of the most balanced and even-lee songsmiths deathcore–and death metal–has seen in some time.

His will is iron. His rule absolute. He knows neither failure or feeling and refuses to succumb to any adversary–he is the juggernaut of a release Tyrant, a devastating debut effort proving Goodnight Irene aren’t afraid to reach into the annals of deathcore songwriting and death metal intensity to bring the listener to their knees.



For Fans Of: Salt the Wound, As Blood Runs Black, I Shot the Sherriff, Chelsea Grin

By: Connor Welsh