xIron Sharpens Ironx – The Tragedy Of Mankind (2020)

This oddly titled act seems to be an experimental hardcore with full emphasis on the hardcore. How can I determine that? Well, there’s even a cover of Minor Threat’s “Straight Edge.” Even still, there’s more to the band than that, as opener “Atom Bomb” even touches on black and death metal. Now here’s an act that has a lot of potential, because they’re not nailing themselves down to one idea. Reviewers of the past would often accuse these kinds of acts of not knowing what kind of band they want to be or “a band playing around its record collection” but the fact that these guys are willing to just throw a lot of things into the pot to see if they stick is pretty damn refreshing. “Dehumanized” feels more like traditional hardcore with some chunky deathcore elements in it, yet there’s undeniable rage and passion in it, which is what I like to hear.

Unexpectedly, there’s a mellow instrumental in the center of the disc called “Distance/Depression” and that follows into an equally dreary number called “Among Shadows” which definitely touches on black metal. Yes, there are crunchy death metal sections here too, but these guys clearly don’t play by the rules. Later in the song, it goes straight fucking Biohazard before rolling back into dreary tones once again, then rolls right back into hardcore pounding, black metal tremolos and the works, really. There’s a real “wow” factor here because you never know what to expect with these guys. The Minor Threat cover I mentioned earlier really puts the icing on the cake, because it shows that these guys can roll out the classics on stage and deliver them quite potently, if need be.

My honest opinion however is that these guys need to keep experimenting and drop the x’s. I get it, they’re straight-edge. I knew guys like that in high school. However, its going to be a pain for the Google algorithm to track down a band using the lower case x’s and that means that it would be tougher for possible fans to find them. I could be wrong, but Iron Sharpens Iron would be a much easier search term than with the x’s currently utilized. I think even labels would realize that the x’s are a bit too much. Though a lot of bands are DIY and don’t care anyway, so that might be the case here. Regardless of that, these guys definitely caught my attention, so you need to check out the record as soon as possible.

8/10

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