Iron Monkey, a name once synonymous with the UK’s underground and one responsible for ushering in a new era of UK sludge supremacy, have returned. But, after all these years away, is this a welcome return and will this ‘version’ of a beloved cult entity be embraced with open arms by the extreme metal faithful? If some of the vitriol spreading around the ol’ internet is anything to go by, perhaps not!
A true cult presence in the mid to late 90’s, Iron Monkey were officially bought down by the tragic passing of talismanic frontman Johnny Morrow in 2002, although they had been on hiatus for a few years prior after music industry wrangling led to understandable disillusionment.
Fast forward to 2017 and, rather surprisingly, a new Iron Monkey record has emerged. Composed by founding members Jim Rushby (guitars, vocals) and Steve Watson (bass) and accompanied by Chaos UK drummer Brigg (who replaces the notably absent Justin Greaves), this ressurected crew have been on the receiving end of some unnecessary backlash just for simply existing! A bullshit state of events, frankly.
One thing is for sure, this is a brave move, and one that categorically should not be denied those members involved through fear of damaging Iron Monkey’s legacy. Jim Rushby and Steve Watson were a major part of that legacy and surely they, if anyone, are bestowed the right to resurrect the name in 2017. Whether they should have bothered is another matter entirely and that is the crux of the matter. The real question here is simple. Has this new incarnation delivered an album that competes with such a cherished back catalogue?
The answer is also simple. Yes, yes it does.
Still firmly in nihilistic sludge metal territory, the Iron Monkey of 2017 may not quite match the intensity and ire of its original embodiment but this shit still takes no prisoners. Delivering blow after blow of groove-drenched, sludge metal intensity, Iron Monkey circa 2017 are a mean-spirited bunch of muthafuckers and 9-13 is a colossal cacophony of belligerent bile. Which is exactly what true real fans of Iron Monkey should be clamouring for!
Pure misanthropic malevolence…..whose up for some, eh?! 8/10