Iron Front
Hooked

Our glorious editor, Erik “The Enforcer”, passed along the promo for Iron Front to me, thinking it would be up my alley to review, and he was correct

Hailing from Oakland California the band has been around a few years. Their notable releases are the Demo-nic Possession demo from 2020, Flayed Alive EP in 2021, and their debut album in 2022 Left Out to Rot. The band has returned with Hooked, a self-released album that is a brief 22 minutes contained within 7 songs.

I’m a big fan of Ohio’s Sanguisugabogg and their brand of death metal. I find a lot of similarities between these two bands who have been around roughly the same amount of time. Sanguisugabogg started out with a variety of different beatdown chugging slams and old school 90’s death metal, and have now focused more on making chugging their central focus. Iron Front’s newest album, Hooked, follows some of that same trajectory, as the band even has the ‘Bogg tinny popping snare drum sound that Erik “The Enforcer”, truly loves. In some ways this album hits as hard, if not harder than Sanguisugabogg’s last album, maybe because I find this a tad catchier and slammier.

“Dissolved In Resin” erupts out of the starting gates with an isolated guitar riff and this song immediately starts out with this Holy Shit moment. Because I know what is coming…Boom, right after that riff, right into a monster slam…I’ll say, Iron Front needs to open their live sets with this song, now!! Make that yesterday, because then right after the slam, right into a blast beat, and for this type of music I am ok with the snare sound, it does not bother me. It cuts through all the heaviness quite nicely. The various stop-and-start guitar riffing and chugging at the 3-minute marker will collapse chest cavities as Topey Plourde’s filthy growls are all over the place on this song. I am loving the shit outta this. The band is also rounded out by: Dmitri Castillo Russel – Bass, Max Mahmood – Drums, Jesse Dicrutattalo/ Cruz Garcia – Guitars.

“Slug Rounds” is up next and the slams and gutturals toward the end of this song, after the scorching blast beats, you’re going to want to punch things multiple times, over and over and over and over….and over again. If you like bacon, then “Pig Splitter” will be just what the Doctor ordered for you. Blast beats to start then the song settles into a punishing groove with gnarly filthy vocals, putrid. The 1.50 gallop reminded me of Mortician, in some respects, then right back into the chugging beatdown, then right into the Mortician like gallop, think of the song “Slaughterhouse” or “Slaughtered”, the beginning, with that unearthly heaving gallop. Such a great song.

The title track offers up a nice nod to the Mortal Kombat video game, you’ll know it once you hear it and the 1.25 section will create massive circle pits all damn day and I enjoy the band using pinch harmonics throughout this release, bringing in that classic NYDM sound of the 90’s.

“Intestinal Siphon” has a great opening isolated bass guitar moment before the groove hits and at the 38 second part that groove gets into a slower chug and it’s really catchy and I can envision karate kicks and picking up change moments in the pit. This song has some excellent growls and vocals erupting all over the place, with some kick ass guitar riffing. These great moments continue throughout the song and the rest of the album too. This is knuckle-dragging caveman brutality and quite honestly, while some of these moments were prevalent on their other releases I really notice more of the ‘Bogg influence on this album. I wonder if maybe they have played shows together? Regardless this is how you start off 2024 folks.

Iron Front’s Hooked contains no fancy-schmancey intros, just bludgeoning the listener with brutal kick ass down-tuned chugging slamming death metal. This fucking killz!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 17th, 2024

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