Iron Reagan & Gatecreeper – “Split” (Relapse Records)
No strangers to split releases comes this double barrelled blast of Virginian crossover thrash and Sonoran death metal! Well known for having members Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste), Paul Burnette (ex Darkest Hour), Phil Hall (Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste), Mark Bronzino (ex A.N.S.) and Ryan Parrish (ex Darkest Hour), Iron Reagan deliver some of their heaviest and most razor sharp riffs ever on their 5 tracks making up this joint demolition effort. From the neck snapping ‘Paper Shredder’ with its heavy, twanging bass and crashing riffs to the hammering ‘Take This Fall’ with its chundering riffola, Tony Foresta’s vocals scream over the top of the furor as hardcore shout outs rage amid LandPhil’s wailing guitars. On ‘Burn For This’ Ryan Parrish’s militaristic drum beats collide with the wall of noise from the aforementioned Hall but also his counterpart in mayhem Bronzino as together they also deliver some stylish melodies that add to the catchiness of their contribution. Not so Gatecreeper. Taking their inspiration from the dirty death noise of Grave, Dismember and Bolt Thrower with tons of dirty reverb and melancholic doom melodies you can really feel the teeth right from their instrumental intro ‘Daybreak’ to monstrous tracks aptly titled like ‘Dead Inside’ and ‘War Has Begun’. Even Chase Mason’s growling vocals buried deep in the cement mix seem to perversely suit the sound, and the addition of tasty funeral doom melodies only adds to the enticement of the material from this excellent Arizonan band. Prepare for serious burns on this one folks.