Sound — 6
Think back to 2009 when the news of this project broke. We all struggled to envisage a way in which all three contributing parties (Anthrax, Fall Out Boy and Every Time I Die) could have had their voices heard on a single record. Contrary to popular belief, musicians are capable of working in more sounds than the one they are famous for, but with Ironiclast' it sounds like an explosive culture clash has left the band in a Wild West fallout.
Every Time I Die's fingerprints are smeared all over this record it's their all-American swagger that gives Ironiclast' its whole aesthetic. It's a throwback to classic hard rock and blues, but one with post-modern awareness and, it's safe to say, a lot more bite than most classic rock records. Guitarist and producer Rob Cagganio's experience with metal and hardcore mixing has certainly helped him harness the power of a six-piece, three-guitar band. Going beyond that, we start to hear more melodic material and it's at this point that the album's major flaw makes itself apparent; nobody expected this to sound like Fall Out Boy and it is, right enough, a world apart in terms of timbre but those vocal hooks have forced their way in. Even with Keith Buckley's bluesy, beardy twinge they are unmistakably born from the school of Stump and Wentz. It's tune-writing ability that, while admirable, simply hasn't adapted to the rough-and-tumble of hard rock, and doesn't sit quite right in this context.
Lyrics — 7
If you need to bring a spot of class to proceedings, you can always count on ETID's Keith Buckley. His note-perfect performance renders him unrecognisable at first; with a well-oiled (and possibly sober) band behind him he doesn't fit as snugly as you may have hoped. There's no doubt that the aforementioned melodic writing is to blame for that, though, as he more than conveys his considerable talent. His lyrics are also of a high quality, and have been revised to fit the Damned Things framework. His razor-sharp tongue has, to an extent, been blunted and removed from the cheek but this album could have fallen flat on its face with an average singer and lyricist and Keith Buckley is neither of these things.
Overall Impression — 6
Forming this band was a fanciful escape from the norm for Trohman & co, but the fun factor is diluted too often to really have an impact. The album improves towards the end (Graverobber' and the title track), where Buckley finally settles into his usual mode of address, the Anthrax guitarists get down and dirty and generally everyone finds a healthy medium and sticks to it.
This is the sort of thing you'd play to your dad to prove that they still make em like they used to' truth is that they don't, but Ironiclast' is a valiant effort which is worth an inspection from the curious and obsessive. At least Kerrang! TV won't be running out of music to use on ad bumpers any time soon.