It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Iron Lung’s Sexless//No Sex.
I’ve been droning on about powerviolence this year intermittently seemingly nonstop. Guess I’m just smitten for the time being. So, I figured why not actually talk about one of the heavier hitters of the modern iteration?
Iron Lung has been around for a long time now. Originally forming in Reno, NV, in 1999, they’ve since relocated to Seattle, WA. Alright, so they’re not the youngest players in the genre anymore, but they play it way, way better than most. Consisting of only two players, Jon Kortland (guitar) and Jensen Ward (drums), the guys conjure up some of the hardest songs the genre has ever known. And while a lot of people gush over Life. Iron Lung. Death. (as they should), my personal favorite has been Sexless//No Sex since the album first came out in 2007.
The thing about Iron Lung is that they sound like their own version of powerviolence while still fitting into the genre perfectly. There’s no one else that really sounds like a deranged science experiment gone wrong in a hospital. But if stopped and asked, “Well, who does Iron Lung sound like?” Honestly, no one. And that’s the way it’s always been. They’re just savage, intense and organic.
“Pig Hands” is where things begin. A few drum strikes and then the blasting is underway. But if this is your first foray into Iron Lung, well, you’re in for some whip lash. Tempo changes on a whim and songs are brief as hell. “Pig Hands” barely clocks in at over a minute, yet the song does everything it can to rattle your head and warm you up for the rest of the album.
Sexless//No Sex is a barrage of riffs, breakdowns, noise, blasts, and pure grinding punk. And the band can cut and beat bloody as quickly as they can administer a bandage. Maybe that gives the impression that they’re gentle at times. No, no they’re not. When Iron Lung get to breaking things down, they become sinister. Like we’re waiting to see what they do next. “Here—Alone” creeps along slowly, swelling at times, until breaking into “Autojector” and kicking up the carnage.
It should be stated too that Iron Lung know how to make an album with flow. Song after song, Sexless//No Sex is never boring, and nothing feels out of place. The closer “Cancer” is particularly harrowing and crushing. The slow slam takes the album out perfectly and leaves the listener paralyzed.
If you’ve never listened to powerviolence before, or have never felt too warm on it, Iron Lung is good place to start/a band that might change your mind on the genre. At the very least, Sexless//No Sex is a great way to grind out your Monday, so get to grinding.