When I saw the picture of Pure Noise Records my mind immediately went to their artists Handguns and The Story So Far, both of which of which I’m pretty huge fans of. I’ll be blunt about not being familiar past name recognition of the majority of the bands on their label but with my only experience being the aforementioned bands I went into My Iron Lung with the idea of Pop-Punk in mind. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.
Grief, the debut 7” from San Diego 4-piece My Iron Lung, comes across more as a blast from the past channeling the emotive hardcore sound of bands like I Hate Myself while maintaining a certain crispness that cements them in the now. The music falls a little more on the softer side with the instrumentals being less distorted than one would expect from a genre with “hardcore” in the name and the contrast is that the aggression lies in the vocal delivery. This is an inherent part of the sound since the diminished instrumental segments act as a background which makes the shrill emotion of the screams and yells take center stage and pop out as the dominant aspect.
While this is effective for the majority of the time it would have been nice to see a little more aggression come from the instrumentation. It’s very common throughout the release to hear all the instruments go away except for one (usually the guitar or drums) and be the only thing backing up the vocal lines. The repeated use of this is by no means poor or bad but it does tend to make the more memorable aspects of the songs the emptier sections, a nicer balance with some heavier writing would have given dynamic contrast.
Songs like “Broken Homes” and “Late Bloomers, Early Caskets” however showcase their contrasts between instrumental and vocal brilliantly. “Broken Homes” in particular does an amazing job at balancing the aspects of the song and even brings a unique perspective with the addition of very calm and beautiful background vocals clashing wondrously with the ragged texture of the main yells. It’s definitely one of the more remarkable moments of Grief as a whole.
Grief is a great release with only a few minor speed bumps in the contrast department. Despite that, the tone of the vocals is really what drives this album home as they consistently impress when given center stage in the music. It shines above the other compositional elements and fulfills the sound with both strained emotional passion and harsh intensity.
For a release as early in a band’s career as this Grief really shines, it articulately presents what the band’s sound is but gives anticipation for the future and what a full release would yield as the running time is just over 13 minutes. Grief is set to be released on September 4th by Pure Noise Records and you can get more from My Iron Lung by following their Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr.
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