In my line of work, I get a great many privileges. Sometimes I get to go to shows for free, sometimes I get to be funny, sometimes I get to talk about defecating myself, and sometimes I get to talk about other people defecating themselves! Today I’m going to tell you about a privilege I’ve been given that has plagued me for a solid month. Today, you’re going to read about how music as we know it has just been utterly sodomized for me. I’m talking a 9.9/10 and you’re gonna read why. My faithful readers, today I have the honour of being one of the first to tell you about our home-town heroes in Red Skies‘ debut, full-length album Iron Sun. Just in writing that first paragraph, I’ve already needed seven cold showers and paid a hooker’s tuition at college. Rubber up and strap yourself in.
I received this record directly from the band on August the 29th, and it proceeded to cripple me from completing other work. All my submissions since have been late; I find myself staring at my ceiling at night thinking about it, with a hard on that no erectile dysfunction medication could produce (don’t ask me how I know this). Many have said that the age of riffy metalcore is dead. To you naysayers, I preach to you that your savior has come, and where there was once a storm, there is now Red Skies. Yeah girl, you feel that wetness? There’s more where that shit came from.
Like any record, I gave it a full listen, no shuffling, no skipping. It’s now been a month, and I still refuse to listen to this piece outside of its original order; it fucks me just right, just the way it is. We are talking about nine absolutely raging bangers, and even with its one little soft interlude, I’m still rolling my eyes in the back of my head in ecstasy. Metalcore is alive and well, and the fact that it’s coming out of my hometown of Montreal couldn’t make me happier.
“Permian Era” kicks in with an eerie, atmospheric speech, preaching some “end of all humanity”-style shit, then breaking into what you might think is a standard “why are you doing this to me” deathcore beat-down. You might see this as foreshadowing, but you’d be horribly wrong. “New Voice” breaks in your head like that guy you owed money to (that you seriously shouldn’t have owed money to). It’s utter carnage with glorious structure, groove, and balance. We then immediately dance into “Rough Sleepers,” which of course gives you no break what-so-fucking-ever, just continuing the barrage.
What feels like a slight pause creeps in, but no, there’s no fucking filler here as “Hemlock” twangs to life and picks up the torch of fuckery. Gorgeous piano then breathes life to “Sonder,” an interlude with straight-up keys and guitarist Justin Furtado bringing on the moisture. A chorus begins to erupt; a storm is about to come, and at this point, even just writing this sentence for you, I begin to bump like a goose. “Concept Citizen” is that crowd pleaser every band prays for, and the flow of “Sonder” into “Concept” takes this record to whole new heights and possibilities. At this point you and your genitals are starting to chafe, but rest assured, dearest reader, they’re not done with you yet.
“Norrin Radd” is the point of this record where I realized the relentlessness of Red Skies, just absolutely pummeling you with their signature tone and monstrous metalcore groove. Their first Single “Apostle” then joins the fray, ringing hard on the political vibes but keeping that balance of groove and melody. Title track “Iron Sun” brings an end to the abuse in the most appropriate of fashions: riffage out your ass.
And that’s it! I just went through all nine fucking songs. When you typically review a record, you mention a few highlights at best. THIS ENTIRE THING IS A HIGHLIGHT. Jerk offs aside, everything about this record is what every metalcore fan wants. It’s original but consistent. Each part, from front to back, is grilled to perfection. The guitars and bass come in full body, but as I mentioned earlier, with a trademark punch and a PhD in riffage that you hear very particularly out of this band and not so much with everyone else in the genre. The drum section is utterly relentless, very reminiscent of heavy metalcore bands akin to Unearth. Above everything else, however, is the vocal work. This is what truly hits home for me. Both Justin Furtado and frontman Cody “Fuzzy Nips” Dodds bring an entirely fresh game, with word play you’d see out of a Harvard graduate who decided to spank the hiphop game, tones that warm the soul and, finally, a singer that decided to respect his natural playing field whilst still very gently getting his toes wet on fresh grounds. All of this is perfectly tied together like a Christmas by the world class engineering and mastering work fronted by Antoine Lussier; I haven’t heard more stellar work from some of the worlds biggest bands, and my jaw is on the floor for you, good sir.
I’m sure by this point you’ve gotta be wondering if I’m going to start ripping into them for SOMETHING. I mean c’mon, we’re five paragraphs deep into this wank fest and you haven’t heard anything wrong about this record yet. Here’s the problem; I still haven’t found anything yet. I truly, wholeheartedly love this record. I haven’t felt this enthusiastic about a piece in what feels like years. Some things can stand the test of time, sure, but not this beautifully; not to the point where I refuse to listen to it out of its original order, and never with such excitement in knowing what comes next. October 13th is the official drop, and October 29th is the official release show held in Montreal at Piranha Bar. If absolutely grade-A fucking metalcore is your bag, then do yourself a favour and be at Piranha Bar. Now that I can finally put this piece to bed, I’m gonna go back to crying and wondering why the hell I even bothered being a singer in the first place. Selfish pricks…
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Kate Erickson