Review: Iron Reagan — Dark Days Ahead

Category:  The Arts
Thursday, October 25th, 2018 at 2:20 PM
Review: Iron Reagan — Dark Days Ahead by Ben McCullough

★★★★

Iron Reagan of Richmond, Virginia has been putting out heavy, thrash/crossover music since 2012. On Oct. 12, they released an EP titled “Dark Days Ahead” and is the band’s second release of 2018; the other being a split with the band “Gatecreeper.” Seeing that the EP was released on Pop Wig records, an independent punk rock label releasing works by some of the biggest names in hardcore, I was very excited to check it out.

With “Dark Days Ahead” being 5 tracks long, and wrapping up in just under 8 minutes, it was hard for me to develop initial impressions. I could feel the energy behind the songs, but only a few specific moments stood out to me. After listening through a second and third time, I was sold. Each track got heavier and more intense with every listen, and I found myself banging my head from start to finish. This was my first experience with Iron Reagan, and I wanted more of it.

Tony Foresta’s thrash style vocals are backed by powerful, speed driven riffs that exhibit the irate messages of “Dark Days Ahead.” Lyrics of authority, evil, death, and destruction show Foresta’s bleak outlook on humanity and the powers that be.

The EP opens with the song “Authority.” The beginning of the song works perfectly as an introduction; the guitars and drums are paired together to play the same short bursts of sound, creating a feeling that a timebomb is about to go off. Blast beats then push the song forward until it ends. Foresta calls out authority figures saying, “I see through these vicious lies and the hypocrisy.” The song also introduces group vocals that are featured on several other tracks. The group vocals shout “Ain’t no one fucking listening?” asking how people cannot see what they see.

The title track “Dark Days Ahead” has the sound of a 90’s punk song while still having a thrash edge. The song breaks off into the noise of a party where group vocals sing drawn out “woahs,” eventually leading back into the main riff.

The band shows off their hardcore and power metal influences on the next two tracks, “Patronizer” and “The Devastation.”

“Patronizer” is the only track longer than 2 minutes and opens with fight riff mean enough to get listeners off their feet. A pick scrapes down the strings of a guitar, and the rest of the band bursts in to jam along with the riff. I immediately stood up and started stomping around my room. The song is about what happens when people allow themselves to be patronized. “Constant destruction, the serpent and the beast.” Group vocals chant: “PATRONIZER,” as the instruments drastically speed up and the vocals follow suit.

“The Devastation” wastes no time revealing its unhinged fury. The guitars rapidly gallop along while occasionally breaking down into slower, heavy chunks, where Foresta yells “The de-va-sta-tion,” one syllable at a time. The guitars and drums follow his lead, developing these short brutal breaks. This track blends the intensity of a Slayer song, with the heavy tones of today’s hardcore bands to create what Iron Reagan is all about.

The last song, “Watch You Die,” is the shortest song on the EP and blows by in what feels like a blink of an eye. The song does not carry as much weight compared to the rest of the tracks, but is a great way to wrap up the EP.

After listening through “Dark Days Ahead,” I was ready to listen to all that Iron Reagan had to offer. The riffs on this EP sound of nothing new compared to previous Iron Reagan releases, but are still packed with plenty a punch. The release of this EP shows that Iron Reagan is active, and continuing to put out heavy music that sounds the way they want it to sound. Not many other thrash/crossover bands can consistently put out hard hitting tracks release after release.

Ben McCullough can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

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