For Fans Of
Melbourne’s Iron Mind attracted quite a bit of hype in the hardcore scene in 2009 with their debut EP “The Sun Is Set”, and have occupied the earphones of Australian hardcore kids with their stripped-down brand of New York-inspired hardcore since. Two years on, the band has hit back with their hugely anticipated debut full-length, “Hell Split Wide Open”. The most noticeable difference between “The Sun Has Set” and this record is the production value. There’s no way around it – this album sounds HUGE. It was recorded at Three Phase Studios in their hometown where 50 Lions recorded their last offering “Where Life Expires”, which for better or worse is noticeable upon first listen. But comparisons pretty much end there, with Iron Mind’s penchant for a more classic, Cro-Mags-esque hardcore sound sharing far more in common with Perth favourites Blkout!.
From the first line of “Look Into My Eye”, it’s apparent that frontman Sam Octigan’s vocals have been honed to an even ballsier level. “Hard Rain” is really where the album kicks into gear, showcasing Iron Mind’s familiar hardcore groove and featuring what is arguably the band’s catchiest two step riff to date. Oh yeah, “Hell Split Wide Open” definitely has its expected generous dosage of two step and floorpunch action. The breakdown in “Guilt” reiterates that Iron Mind like their riffs tough, while “Nail Becomes The Hammer” boasts an almost southern two step beat reminiscent of bands like Kids Like Us or Down To Nothing. In “The Calm and the Storm”, Iron Mind introduce some newfound lead guitar bravado whilst remaining as heavy as ever, and the breakdown at the end of “Hounded” in which Octigan screams the album’s title will undoubtedly come to split mosh pits open as this band does so well. “Lion’s Den” opens with one of this band’s typical driving, bass-heavy riff and delivers with yet another groovy-as-anything two step beat, before “Still No Light” rounds off the album with a solo that would easily sound at home on a Cro-Mags “Best Wishes”-era track.
There don’t seem to have been many solid local hardcore releases so far this year, something which “Hell Split Wide Open” remedies well. Despite the fact that more time to fill has meant that this album lacks the punchiness of its predecessor, sharper production and just enough progression means that this impressive first release is everything it should be. If “Hell Split” is anything to go by, Iron Mind are well on their way to being the next big thing in Australian hardcore.
1. Look Into My Eye
2. Hard Rain
4. Nail Becomes The Hammer
6. Steel Trap
7. The Calm And The Storm
8. No More Pain
9. Lions Den
10. Still No Light (The Iron Mind Pt II)