Iron Reagan is a fun, dumb, boisterous band that was one of a handful of bands to revive hardcore for me this year. This is skateboarding and upturned brim music. This is hating the man, when the man is your parents music. This is about gnarly, shredding, thrashy hardcore pumped full of solos and shouts and vests with patches. It’s awesome and reenergizing. Hardcore isn’t a genre known for its excess, but with the infusion of metal it becomes bombastic, indulgent, and joyously ridiculous– in a good way. The Tyranny of Will is twenty-five tracks (seriously) of headbanging punk metal that’ll be sure to open up a pit or two.
There’s an obvious element of satire here that makes it all stick. Iron Reagan is an awesome 80’s band name and gives a pretty clear signal that this is a tongue in cheek affair. That isn’t to say that it renders thrash laughable, it really doesn’t, it’s more about revelling in it. Iron Reagan embrace the craziness and silliness of the genre and they do it with such loving devotion to the style that it comes off as pure and undiluted. The songs are bursts of fast and easy energy, snapshots of anger or just pure violence (“Eyeball Gore,” hell yeah).
“Miserable Failure” is the longest song on the album at two minutes and fifteen seconds. It surges with chugging energy and guitar solos and gang vocals and makes for just a fun fucking track. The song extolls another interesting virtue of The Tyranny of Will, its all alienation and other Gold Standards of the genre, but they’re all performed with such earnestness it kind of elevates the subject matters beyond cliche. These are no longer just repeated ideas, these are now all thrash metal fables meant to stand the test of time.
Iron Reagan is essentially a supergroup, including members of Cannibal Corpse and Municipal Waste, and having that element of esteemed musicianship at the heart of the music really makes The Tyranny of Will into a love letter of sorts. They love the music, they know the music, they know what makes it awesome and silly and they know what makes it suck. These throwback records are fun because they remind us why we loved it all in the first place. Iron Reagan are in on the joke, but with The Tyranny of Will they’re reminding their audience it wasn’t always a joke and they do it by rocking it out with energy and aggression and the sense that some music is better when it’s just pure fun.