Iron Tusk 3: Dream Eaters is one big, loud, ridiculous, and ruthlessly-intentional mic drop. It aims to be as preposterous with as little pretensions as possible. There is absolutely no way that these guys take themselves seriously. I mean the hint is in the name for God sakes! The album is dubbed the third in a trilogy of which there isn’t one; at least in name anyway. Iron Tusk’s debut was self-titled, but their follow up was called Dark Spirit. Either this was an afterthought and they didn’t give a shit or it was an intentional and meant as a laugh. I have to believe it’s the latter. At its heart, Dream Eaters is a hardcore punk throwback to a time when the genre was at its most primitive, raw, and deftly comical.
For better or worse the lo-fi production defines this EP. It’s supposed to sound huge and abrasive as if you’re hearing it for the first time; maybe in a desolate bar (when such things were a reality) with one or two drunk onlookers or perhaps in a bandmember’s rundown garage. It succeeds in setting the scene. You’ll either bask in it or flee with your hands placed firmly over your ears. The only two songs on the EP, “Cloud Eater,” and “Dreaming City,” hit you with a relentless four/four beat and the same two or three riffs over and over. Subtle these guys are not but before the EP can tumble headfirst into ‘generic town,’ it’s finished. Iron Tusk don’t just drop the mic; they throw it straight at your face.
The problem with all this is in just over eight minutes, the band hardly says anything at all. It’s akin to someone walking into a room and just screaming. It’s kind of admirable and probably cathartic for its creators, but you, the listener, will most likely not get anything substantial out of it.
The band might be powerful and thought-provoking songwriters, but I have NO idea. The vocals are mixed so low that after MANY listens, I still don’t know what they are going on about. To me, hardcore punk lives and dies by the lyrics and sadly it’s as if these lyrics haven’t even been born yet. The odd phrases I can make out don’t give me a lot of confidence. The chorus to “Dreaming City” is just “Darkness Rises/On Burning Skies” which could be poetic if I was given any context.
All this said, the most decipherable moment on the EP is also it’s funniest. The guitars and drums give way to a woman’s voice proudly stating, “I have a secret/I worship the devil.” It’s so boneheaded, random, and cliché that it HAS to be a joke. It also annoys me to no end ‘cause maybe the rest of the lyrics are as comical but we’ll never know.
I wish they had mixed this a little better. It’s far from a great EP but Iron Tusk 3: Dream Eaters is worth a listen and is sure to be an excellent promotional tool for the band. Hell, I know I would love to be caught in the kind of moshpit that this might inspire.
Written by Shawn Thicke
*edited by Danielle Kenedy