Iron Price is a five-piece Hardcore/Metalcore group that is based out of Maryland and Delaware. The project formed in early 2014, and since then has been writing material and making their live rounds. After about a year of this process, the band entered the studio to lay down the four songs that would make up their Demo 2015 release, the first piece of officially recorded metallic Hardcore from this group. But is this a collection of their best material, or is it just a compilation of paint-by-number staples to the genre?

If there's one thing going for Demo 2015, it's the audio quality and tone of the recording. All four songs are fairly crisp with a decent bite to the guitars and bass presence, fantastic sounding drums void of compression issues, and rough shouting that walks the line between overly digital and rough enough to get the point across. If all this was a little more on the raw side, the bite surely would be a lot more harsh in comparison, but every aspect of the band is accentuated in a manner that leaves a hint of darkness behind the group that only enhances what authority can be found in the performances, especially in the breakdowns that are either fairly common to the style, or actually creep along in a fairly disparaging manner.

"Armor Piercing" starts with a slow build that actually takes on more of a sense of desolation, as if rebuilding after a war or bracing for the impact of such an event. The loud hum of the bass guitar really adds an element of grit to the mix that builds the sensation of walking the streets with your army of like-minded individuals seeking out your foes or any that may remain within the smouldering heaps, all the while the lyrics act as more of a self-empowering theme by not letting the negative words of another be an anchor, eventually leading back to that aforementioned disparaging tone to the slower, near Doom Metal pace about two-and-a-half minutes in. Meanwhile there's "Worm", which is a near polar opposite performance. This time, the lyrical assault is outwards towards someone, putting him/her down about how they aren't in any way equal. Hints of Crossover Thrash can also be felt in the quicker main verses, allowing those lyrics to spew a venomous contempt between a more melodic chorus, all leading to a conclusion that rings out the exact same way "Armor Piercing" faded in.

But then you have the two tracks sandwiched between the songs that seem to overlap in a conceptual manner. "Invisible Man" has a burdening presence in some of the hooks, not to mention doesn't shy away from diving back into the gloomy Doom Metal-ish material, this time prior to the fairly common Metalcore breakdown. Finally, there's "Rejection Reaction", which actually shows a little more range from the group overall. That trudging pace kicks things off this time around, grounding the track into yet another slow moving performance, but with a hell of a lot more hostility overall. Even the vocals break away from the traditional shouting approach to harsher depths once in a while, not to mention a fantastic build to the closing breakdown that creates a lot of tension the pit will instinctively thrive off of, but the pay off, sadly, doesn't live up to the established hype. As if channelling Crowbar or even Novembers Doom to a track that already has a number of groove-oriented riffs that could easily fit a recent Six Feet Under album with the right distortions, we're not given an explosive bit of pent up rage, but rather a melancholic performance that aims to leave the listener in a trance rather than moshing or dancing. This winds up not only being a massive waste, but also a major letdown in how it's executed, a poor choice to transition to after such a killer performance.

So, what does Demo 2015 show us of this new "metallic Hardcore" outfit? The most obvious being that this isn't your every day entry into the Hardcore or Metalcore field. While it does have moments, even one or two songs that tread your traditional compositions for said styles, this one adds a good deal of aggression and edge to the grooves where applicable, almost elevating it to a groove heavy Death Metal performance if certain technical aspects were a little different. Of course utilizing trudging Doom Metal grade passages doesn't hurt this case either. What we find on Iron Price's debut outing is one of exploration, really. While easily asserting it's "-core" roots and authoritative self-empowerment, it's also an incredibly depressing, downtrodden affair that ascends the traditional values to a whole other level that compliments them instead of re-writes them. While impressive, there's still room to mature for the five-piece, but even at this state they are well worth looking into, especially since this is available as a free download from here.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.