Coming out of the New England heavy music scene, Iron Gag formed back in 2014. Though they fuse elements of hardcore and punk into their songwriting, the quartet never steers to far from their metal roots.
Iron Gag have released an EP, split, and in 2018, their debut album, Malingering, which Invisible Oranges cleverly said, "sounds like Steve Albini losing his shit and spending two weeks feverishly pounding away on a manual typewriter in some off-the-grid manifesto shack."
With a slew of live dates looming, Iron Gag is ready to return with their most focused and hardest statement yet, LPII.
"The lyrical work for LPII is made to be a journey of sorts," Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal tells No Echo. "It's an introspective look at life as a whole; more specifically my life starting with the effect of the death/sickness of my mother in my childhood.
"It essentially narrates the fluctuations of a human life being shaped. From the social anxiety of just wanting to fit in, the unhealthy coping mechanisms, all the way to the bitter but accepting adult I am today."
LPII won't be out til June, but you know No Echo is inpatient, so enjoy the stream below in the meantime:
Here are the track breakdowns for each track courtesy of Iron Gag:
"'Helpless Sorrow' is pretty self explanatory. It is a song about the hopelessness felt everyday after such a major loss. A song about the difficulty in processing let alone coping with the fact that your mother is no longer alive at such a young age." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'Out the Window' is the extension of helpless sorrow. After such a great loss it can be hard to find any reality to grasp onto. Sometimes it feels like the only way to cope is to give in to the feeling of despair and sadness." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'Bitter' is a pretty wide brush stroke look at the years that shaped me. I have struggled with my mental state for most of my life and most of it has gone unchecked. There is a loneliness in feeling like no one understands you. It is mostly about a sad kid who doesn’t fit in well because of the untreated trauma they have endured." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'To Err Is Human' is a song of catharsis, it is about the acceptance I found in music and art. I went down many different avenues and tried many activities before I found one with people who didn’t make me feel out of place. I always liked to paint and draw which was very expressive for me but I got into the punk scene pretty young and this is where I really felt at home. I think I started going to local shows sometime around 12 years old and got a guitar immediately.
"There is something about heavy music, or any emotional music really, that flourishes from pain and I finally felt like I had an outlet. There have been many bands before iron gag but this was the first project I really got to write my own words and I also do the majority of our artwork." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'Fragmented' is a song about realizing only you as a person can help yourself and overcome your demons. People come and go in your life whether through death or because things change. Sometimes you forget and think that other people are responsible for helping you stay sane, but ultimately you are the only one who can save yourself from all the thoughts in your head." —Iron Gag guitarist/vocalist OJ Flynn.
"'An Empty Vessel' is a look into a period of my life that is very dark and blurry. We live in a world that likes to glorify alcohol and partying, I definitely lost sight of myself in that world. Like most people I discovered alcohol pretty early and continued to consume as much as I could into my early adult years. Unlike a lot of people my age I wasn’t drinking to have a good time, I was drinking to forget myself. Being wasted was the only time I truly felt free because I wasn’t feeling anything.
"The lack of structure and freedom I had as a teenager definitely helped support this behavior and I leaned full on in. I stopped going to as many shows and if I did go I was drinking heavily. I don’t remember a lot of things from this time in my life and that’s a bummer because it’s the “prime” of your life as people put it." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'Absence Acknowledged' is another turning point in the album. This song is about self realization and awareness. As I approached my 30s I started having moments of clarity. I stopped drinking as much, found a therapist and started actually thinking about who I was and what I was doing. Though I had spent a lot of my life drunk wallowing in my own misery, I had also made a decent life for myself. The misery had been creative fuel and I was able to start accepting my reality." —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'We Exit Stage Left' is a real deep dive into my mental state as an adult. It is a culmination of all the traits I live with, the anxiety, the mania, the depression, the imposter syndrome. They are all there but I can’t blame my behavior on them. I wrote this song on a very bad afternoon which still happens quite often. But I wanted to write it down in a way that would remind me that this is only a piece of me, I am not all bad and that I can be a good person. Segway into…" —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
"'Profanity Continued' is a song I wanted to end the album with as meaningful a message as I could muster. It’s a song about trying to be a 'good' human. I still struggle with this day to day but I am trying to be the best version of myself in the world I can realistically touch. I feel like a lot of people today get caught up in trying to change the entire world or hurt it, especially on the internet, rather than looking into their own neighborhoods and the people directly in their life.
"It's pretty clear the world is pretty fucked as a whole so I try focusing on the part of the world I am in daily. This helps me stay grounded in reality, which helps me stay as 'sane' as I can. —Iron Gag bassist/vocalist Colin Heal
LPII will be out across all digita outlets on June 3rd. The band will have a limited amount of white cassettes available for purchase on their Bandcamp page on release day.
Upcoming Iron Gag shows:
6/9 Cobra Lounge- Chicago IL
6/10 (DSGN)CLLCTV- Cincinnati, OH
6/11 Hi Tone (small room) - Memphis, TN
6/12 Sabbath Brewing - Atlanta , GA
6/13 Pourhouse - Raleigh, NC
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