Album: Monsters – EP
Our imagines make up all sorts of wild creatures at the mention of the word “monster.” Three legged, ten-eyed, claw-handed amalgamations of horror and gore, whenever someone utters “monster,”it becomes anyone’s bet as to what it is they truly mean—with the only assurance being that it was horrifying. Looking at the art for Ironsights’ debut EP of the same name, a similar feeling washes over the would-be listener. With the technicolor hues and goofy stylings of the creature on the front, and the over-the-top comic book lettering, one might expect a synth-loaded, poppy and innocent post-something-core release light enough to float off into thin air.
What they probably don’t expect is exactly what they get: pure, unabashed and horrifyingly heavy deathcore.
Monsters is malevolent, bouncy and brutalizing deathcore with hints of metalcore and groove enough to give it an insidiously catchy edge. More importantly, it is the debut onslaught by these young Omaha aggressors, displaying prodigal talent and punishing intensity that will keep fans of any style of extreme music coming back for more.
Ironsights find themselves at a bizarre crossroads when it comes to their instrumental influences. Yes, at its core, Monsters is a lacerating, lurid deathcore release, build upon the quick fills, machine-gun blast beats and fleet footwork of drummer Garrett Mumford. Mumford’s raunchy percussion, however, is just the beginning when it comes to describing Ironsights. His drumming on the whirlwind opener,“Destroyer,” as well as his work on the irresponsibly heavy “Swamp King” are remarkable, yes, but his off-kilter patterns and unexpected portions of bounce and groove on “Abhorrence” throw the listener for a loop—especially when coupled with the snappy, bouncy bass work of Ethan Weigman. Weigman’s bass adds heft to even the fastest portions of Monsters, all the while keeping things moving fluidly, refusing to let the release dip into monotony. His plodding chugs rumble atop Mumford’s meaty kick drum, adding to them and giving Ironsights a murky, malevolent low end—best exemplified in “Abhorrence,” where the track slowly builds from a back-snapping breakdown into a bouncy, burly groove. Atop the band’s bold firmament of filth and grit, guitarist Blake Suarez adds a broad variety of leads, chugs and riffs to the release, giving certain tracks an almost djent-y feel, while giving others a bold, straightforward deathcore approach. “Puppeteer” opens with a prog-influenced grove that quickly dissolves into a dissonant, abrasive Nu-metal riff before dropping into a devilishly heavy breakdown without warning. “Abhorrence,” meanwhile, showcases Suarez’s penchant for eerie, melodic leads—juxtaposed against jarring, slam-tinted breakdowns that break bones with ease. Atop Mumford and Weigman’s fast-paced foundation, Suarez adds diversity and dissonance in liberal heaps to every second of Monsters, be it with brutality, bounce or both.
Those who press play on Monsters expecting catchy, soft and serene post-hardcore will be alarmed at more than the hyperdissonant, devastating instrumentation. Frontman Ethan Ball possesses a set of pipes that sounds something like a more pissed and lyrically talented Fronz. Tracks like “Abhorrence” make Ball’s talents bold and clear—as he lets loose with grisly, ear-shredding low growls and shrill, sharp screams that fly at a mile-per-minute in an almost rapped candor. Moments like those warrant the comparison to Attila’s Chris Fronzak, while other moments—like the eerie, eviscerating bellows at the end of “Primal” liken him more to Adam Warren or Phil Bozeman—deathcore greats who have earned their name with fearsome, furious low growls. Ball’s talent isn’t necessarily found in how well he does either high screams or low grows, but rather how well he flows from one extreme to another—showcased expertly in “The Howling” and “Abhorrence,” which are startlingly solid testaments to his diversity and dynamism.
Ironsights are one of the best surprises 2015 has thrown at the heavy music community so far. A Trojan horse of horrifying heaviness hidden in a glitzy, humorous package, Monsters is a devious display of remarkable brutality that is ferocious enough to dwell in the listener’s nightmares for months. Quick, stuttering breakdowns erupt from enormous riffs and grooves, only to decay into dissonant heaps of downtuned filth—establishing a cycle of crushing aggression that repeats until the listener is nothing more than a pile of pulp and guts. If you’ve been looking for that thing that goes bump in the night, or the creature lurking under your bed, Ironsights have found it with Monsters—and you’re the next thing in their crosshairs.
For Fans Of: Attila, Incarcerate, Oceano, The Last Ten Seconds of Life
By: Connor Welsh