Album Review
My Iron Lung - Relief Album Cover

My Iron Lung - Relief

Reviewed by
My Iron Lung - Relief
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Record Label: Pure Noise
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Alleviation, ease, or deliverance through the removal of pain, distress, oppression, etc.

That’s relief. That’s not Relief.

There’s no alleviation throughout the album’s twenty-seven minutes. There’s only defeat and tortured screams. But don’t let that fool you – Relief is not like a typical hardcore record. It blends more atmospheric post-hardcore guitar work with straightforward shouts and abrasive drumming for a more unique sound.

Opener “Commonwealth” shows this quickly, as bright riffs dance underneath harsh screams and pummeling drums. It leads into “Conflict of Interest,” which is an early high point on the album. Drumrolls build to a heavy refrain, only to quiet down to a Saddest Landscape-esque bridge, in which we’re told about the leaves, and asked “why are we not changing with them?” This whole verse is sung in a cracking voice, and gives off an air of vulnerability. It’s perhaps the most affecting moment of the album, and leads into a cathartic finish.

Something else noteworthy about the album’s opening pair is that they’re the only two tracks on the album to exceed three minutes in length, and at no more than five seconds past. Perhaps the largest pitfall Relief faces is how short it is. Being such a short, mid-tempo album, it’s easy for the album to blur together a bit.

In all honesty, though, I rather doubt that’ll happen to many, as there’s enough distinction between a slowburner like “Daydream,” with its haunting “oh-oh-oh” chants in its bridge, and a brooding, but still crushing, track like “June.” “June” is another standout on Relief, this time for its transitions from harsh to melodic and back again, and its post-rock bridge. Shimmery, Explosions in the Sky influenced guitar lines burst and bloom underneath propulsive, heavy drums.

If there’s another flaw to be pulled out, it’s My Iron Lung’s reliance on a formula. Their songs seem to all begin loudly, then slow down around halfway through to a post-rock interlude, then get loud again for a climactic finish. It’s good in that it provides deviation from most bands in the genre, who aren’t playing spacious hardcore inflected with post-rock sensibilities, but it can get a bit tiring always being able to guess what will happen next.

Still, Relief is only My Iron Lung’s first full-length, and there’s room for mistakes. Besides, when the band is this adept, small things like that can be let go. It’s undoubtedly one of the genre’s best releases this year, and hopefully it provides you with relief from whatever you’re facing.

Recommended if you likeState Faults' Resonate/Desperate; Caravels’ Lacuna; Frameworks’ Loom

Displaying posts 1 - 12 of 12
08:50 AM on 07/07/14
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Mikeallover's Avatar
I really enjoyed what I heard from the stream of this album.
09:42 AM on 07/07/14
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js977's Avatar
i'll be checking this out
but for the record: RIYL: State Faults
10:03 AM on 07/07/14
Zac Djamoos
no shade in the shadow of the cross
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Zac Djamoos's Avatar
i'll be checking this out
but for the record: RIYL: State Faults

Oh damn, thanks.
01:01 PM on 07/07/14
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drummer13's Avatar
I'd also compare them to Touche Amore. The review seemed a little scattered but I liked the opening a lot and agreed with what you had to say. Album is great, these guys deserve more attention.
01:10 PM on 07/07/14
Step back. Evaluate. Recognize.
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absintheparty9's Avatar
Good review, will definitely be checking out.
01:47 PM on 07/07/14
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No Avatar Selected
Loved Loom so I'll definitely check this
01:52 PM on 07/07/14
Ryan Gardner
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Ryan Gardner's Avatar
I'll have to check this out
02:40 PM on 07/07/14
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Short-Lived's Avatar
I fucking love this record.
07:44 PM on 07/07/14
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mybreakingpoint's Avatar
I fucking love this album as well. Review is spot on, nice work.
05:11 PM on 07/12/14
Your Milkshake
...I drink it
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Your Milkshake's Avatar
hmm well I dig the hell out of Caravels and State Faults
02:24 PM on 08/17/14
Zac Djamoos
no shade in the shadow of the cross
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Zac Djamoos's Avatar
hmm well I dig the hell out of Caravels and State Faults
What did you think of this?

As much as I like "Conflict of Interest," I don't think it beats out "Family Traits" for their best track.

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