Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Iron Age

Iron Age is the closest thing that our generation will come to feeling what the Cro-Mags in the 80s was like.

Much in the way Stop And Think brought Boston into a new era, Iron Age was able to bring Texas into a new era. It was vocalist Tarpey's Next Level Records that would put out the Iron Age demo as well as the Bitter End demo. Iron Age's pedigree was a who's who of hardcore personalities. At the heart of it you had the two constants in vocalist Jason Tarpey (of Far From Breaking, Eternal Champion) and Wade (one of the greatest guitarists ever to have played in hardcore and of Drop Out fame).

Iron Age was the complete package. Aura, danger, violence, drugs, attitude, quality, mythology. No band has garnered more acclaim and contempt for their extracurricular activities than Iron Age. You actually had no idea what would happen at an Iron Age show, while the band was not so unpredictable people more had to worry about the squad of friends that accompanied Iron Age everywhere. Iron Age has a lot of friends. Those friends like to have a good time. Those friends are wan to take exception with people that might be acting out. Over the years, Iron Age has been at the heart of several brawls (be it at their own shows or not). Very few bands can honestly say they have a reputation for fighting the way Iron Age did. Iron Age and their squad would fight anyone, anywhere, anytime... and have.

Iron Age nailed the crossover sound perfectly. In my opinion Constant Struggle is the record that would have gone between Born To Expire & Desperate Measures. The difference is that Wade's guitarwork on Constant Struggle has a life of its own. When the leads come in, it is almost like a second vocalist is at work taking the song to other places. Not one to rest on their laurels, Iron Age kept hitting. To follow up Constant Struggle, Iron Age dropped the Burden of Empire single which bore a doom influence while also preserving their previous sound. The band then began their dress rehearsal for their follow-up and dropped The Way Is Narrow single. This single was Iron Age consummating where they wanted to go. The b-side of the single was a cover of the Flower Travelin' Band's Satori I. While much of the modern hardcore community likely shouted "who the fuck is Flower Travelin' Band?" Iron Age had staked their direction. They knew where they were going. The follow-up album, The Sleeping Eye, was ambitious with Iron Age following in the footsteps of the Cro-Mags and going completely into the metal direction. The album was marked escalation in scale, complexity, and depth. The band had spent years building to that point, with a swirl of personnel changes, a change of influences, and their own personal growth. Iron Age then released The Saga Demos which would be their final release. The band went dormant shortly after.

The band's memory has continued to live on. Through the kids who went to their shows and allowed Iron Age to influence and shape them.

Iron Age Forever.


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