By Octavio Ramos Jr.
Founded in 2010, Canada’s Iron Age Mystics plays hard rock that the band describes as spiced “with punk, funk, and fun.” The band’s full-length studio CD, collectively titled Pride Before the Fall, lives up to the band’s description. It’s obvious that this band walks its own path, wearing its political ideology with pride with frontman Kevin Connelly’s lyrics right up front, but there’s more to this band than its political beliefs. For one, get ready to get down with some catchy yet hardened rock and roll, and approach that is accessible yet fresh and cool. And second, the band is not releasing Pride Before the Fall in the usual way. For a debut, the band is releasing it as four EPs with the following dates: EP 1 already out as February 19, EP 2 slated for March 20, EP 3 scheduled for April 22, and EP 4 unleashed on May 19.
EP 1 consists of three songs. The first one is the self-titled track, the lyrics addressing the destructive nature of blind patriotism, with guitarists Allan Wohng and Chuck Brown kicking out some resounding rhythms and the rhythm section giving the proceedings an accessible but hardened edge. There’s a pop sensibility in the song’s structure, but the coat is pure hard rock, with bassist Clayton Rudy turning in a head-turning performance on this song. Next up is “Save it for the Revolution,” which slows things down a notch, with Rudy once again tapping into some groove-laden hooks and vocalist Kevin Connelly channeling a lower register that really becomes him. I was impressed by this song and its approach (even the U2-like spoken word), making it my personal favorite of EP 1. The closer of this three-song EP is “The Great Divide,” which throws out some Led Zeppelin swagger, with some nice change up on the drums and some bone-crunching guitar. There’s a hint of Aerosmith on this also, a playfulness coming from Connelly shadowed with some funky guitar strings.
EP 2 also features three compositions. The EP starts off with “Down Deep,” a straight-ahead rocker with a slight psychedelic vibe that calls young people to reach “down deep” and come together. There’s an old-school sensibility on here, but one with a modern structure and musicianship, giving it a modern sound with the power of 1960s arena rock. “Information Outlaw” and “Thought Police” tap into Orwellian themes, the former addressing whistleblowers and the secretive nature of much of government and the latter discussing the frightening rise of the surveillance state (which many Americans backed in after 9/11, much to their later chagrin). “Information Outlaw” taps into the strut of bands such as Aerosmith, with the words slightly playful and augmented at times by some keyboard fun. The closer, “Thought Police,” is a grim affair, opening with some acoustic guitar and quickly switching to some somber electrical riffing, punctuated by drums and taking advantage of Connelly’s menacing and at-times sarcastic delivery. Although serious, the band still uses pop sensibility in the choruses to make the song accessible.