July 5, 2013 | , | 3.5

Iron Reagan, Worse Than Dead

Iron Reagan: Worse Than Dead

What do you get you when combine the melodic death metal forces from a couple of former Darkest Hour members with the neo-party thrash found in two dudes from Municipal Waste? You get Iron Reagan’s debut full-length, Worse Than Dead and it’s 19 tracks (in 25 minutes no less) of punk-infused, hardcore-powered and crossover-leaning thrash metal.

Anchored by a rumbling rhythm section of bassist Paul Burnette and drummer Ryan Perish, both formerly of Washington, DC’s Darkest Hour, Iron Reagan is then completed by Richmond, VA’s Municipal Waste’s Tony Foresta on lead vocals and Land Phil on guitar. The combination of these four fuckers is music that is pretty much unlike anything their former (and current) endeavors have produced. There’s not sweeping, melodic riffage to be found here. Nor is there any mention of beer-bonging zombies. Worse Than Dead is as politically charged and socially motivated as an album can get.

“Drop the Gun” sets the tone immediately with just over a minute of aggressive, thrashing mayhem. The overall mood of the song is dark and in your face as Foresta screams and barks out his vocals. “Slightly Out of Focus” is even more aggressive with an amped up pace and rapid fire riffage, bludgeoning drums and quicker delivery on Foresta’s part. The song flies by in just 33 second time, begging you to hit replay several times over. There’s plenty of anti-organized religion in the form of “I Predict the Death of Harold Camping” and the instrumental “I Ripped That Testament a New Asshole.” There are tracks that call out fakes and idiots. Tracks that rally for gun control and just good clean violence.

While the songs on this album are mainly thrash based, there are still moments where more metal bleeds in (“Cycle of Violence”) and even a little melodic death metal as heard on the previously mentioned instrumental. Gang shouts, sound bytes and dual vocal attacks also pepper the quick playing album. The dual vocal attack heard on “The Debt Collector,” “Two Examples” and “Snake Chopper” make for a combination that I would love to hear a bit more of if these guys decide to release another album.

In the end, Worse Than Dead is just a fun as fuck album to listen to. It’s got more than enough energy, influences and aggression (not to mention the relatively short run time) that makes for an album that you just want to play over and over and over and… well you get the picture.