Monday, March 11, 2013

Iron Lung - "White Glove Test" Review

To be honest, when I first heard that there was going to be a new Iron Lung album, I was pretty surprised. I mean, I love the band, and their last album, "Sexless//No Sex" is up there as one of my favorite powerviolence records, but I wasn't really counting the days waiting for a new album from them. That being said, can you believe it's been six years since Iron Lung released a proper full length? For a powerviolence band, that seems like a hell of a long time to come up with an albums worth of material. Not that Iron Lung have been lazy or anything; in between they've done several splits, contributed to compilations, and running their own record label on top of all that, they've definitely been a couple of busy beavers. So now finally, they've graced the world with their 3rd full length, "White Glove Test". An album that could almost be considered 3 different releases, given that it comes with a companion noise/industrial album (if you buy the 2xLP/CD version), and a mash up of the two albums, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. At least in terms of the amount of noise that you get..

You know when you're anticipating the sequel to a movie that you really really liked, and you keep seeing teasers for the follow up, and you keep getting really pumped up for it? Then the day finally comes when you can go to the theater with a couple equally excited buddies, and see the movie. And then when the end credits roll, you just sit there with your friends and go; "huh...well that sure was a movie". It definitely had it's moments, and it was certainly familiar to it's predecessor, in almost every way, but there was just not as much to it. That's this album. "White Glove Test" is the "Hangover 2" of powerviolence records. Musically, it sounds like there was no gap between "Sexless..." and this. Hell, it almost sounds like they could have been recorded during the same session. The tried and true Iron Lung sound remains very firmly in tact on here, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, for sure. All the familiar components are here, the harder than punch to the face from the Hulk drumming, tight stops and starts, heavy dissonant guitar work with a lot of noise rock influence, the claustrophobic and muffled production, everything we know and love about Iron Lung is here.
So then why, I ask myself, and I not going ga-ga over this album? It's a very curious thing, because I don't really know what I was expecting. I guess it's because I feel like I'm just getting the same thing over again, but with half of the kick. The slow passages on here really don't excited me that much, and there are unfortunately a lot of them on here, the blast parts are good, but nothing overly spectacular or blood pumping. The craftsmanship of these songs just seems a bit lacking, is what it boils down too, I guess. Save for a couple very big exceptions; like the track "Containment", which is an outstanding noisy, very tense slammer of a track. I could listen to that track on repeat constantly and not get tired of it. And the 2nd to last track, "Nothing", which is a very nice sludgy trudger. It's also interesting how they included the three "Brutal Supremacy" tracks on here, which were originally exclusive to the 2x7" compilation of the same name. The noise album, entitled "White Glove Test Finds More Filth" is pretty good, and it's cool to see the band fully embrace their noise influence here. Fans of early Einsturzende Neubauten and dark ambient should dig it. So yeah, I guess I was pretty let down by this album. It's not bad, not at all, it's 100% an Iron Lung album, and I love Iron Lung, but they can't win me over every time. Still bought the vinyl though, that artwork is glorious.

Rating: 6/10


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