Monday, February 10, 2014

Iron Reagan - Worse than Dead

By Dave Schalek. The members of the various bands from in and around Richmond, Virginia are increasingly prolific. For example, the increasingly popular acts Municipal Waste and Cannabis Corpse are obviously not enough in the way of projects for some of these guys
By Dave Schalek.

Cover art by Brent Eyestone

The members of the various bands from in and around Richmond, Virginia are increasingly prolific. For example, the increasingly popular acts Municipal Waste and Cannabis Corpse are obviously not enough in the way of projects for some of these guys as political crossover becomes the focus with yet another side project, Iron Reagan. Landphil Hall and Tony Foresta of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, etc., are only the most visible members of Iron Reagan as others from their circle of friends from various area bands come together to crank out some politically tinged crossover straight out of the 1980s.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Although labeled as a side project, Iron Reagan, to be blunt, have something that both Municipal Waste and Cannabis Corpse lack; that is, a sense of seriousness. Musically, Iron Reagan come across as a rather thick version of early D.R.I. or even Attitude Adjustment with shouted vocals, a quick pace, frenetic riffing, and dynamic bass work. The chops are thick and the riffs are given a meaty weight courtesy of a modern production; but, Hall, Foresta, and their cohorts know their way around the old school crossover genre as Worse than Dead has a vibe that seems to be lifted straight off of Dealing with It!.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The seriousness comes in the form of Iron Reagan’s satirical attack on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, the icon of America’s loudmouthed and irrational political right wing. Today, we have to deal with the absurdities that were born in the 1970s and 80s, absurdities such as trickle down economics, the culture war, and the ever increasing intrusion of christianity into the public sphere. These absurdities are only given credence by a right wing media machine that is increasingly screaming louder and louder into its own echo chamber. Iron Reagan attack this echo chamber and the lack of critical thinking displayed by its audience with a decidedly more serious eye that Cannabis Corpse or Municipal Waste ever could. Both Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste are fun bands to listen to, but, let’s face it, there’s nothing serious about cheeky pot references in death metal, or partying hard while listening to thrash metal.

Photo © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Truth be told, there’s nothing really overt about Iron Reagan’s political message except for the cover art, the song titles, and the iconography as most of the lyrics deal with thinking for yourself and applying a critical eye towards the media and political messages. But, I found Worse than Dead to be a bit of fresh air as this type of crossover, and well done crossover to boot, is rather rare nowadays.


Tagged with 2013, crossover, Dave Schalek, hardcore punk, Iron Reagan, John Mourlas
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