Virginia hardcore supergroup Iron Reagan (Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour) has released its debut full-length Worse Than Dead through A389 Records, a label that never fails to put out the heaviest of heavy music every year. This record is exactly what one would hope to come from some of punk’s wildest and most abrasive musicians. It’s heavy and driving and attacks your ears with a barrage of nonstop aggression for twenty-five minutes. Listeners are used to a wild, party-time attitude from vocalist Tony Foresta and the rest of the Municipal Waste gang, and while there are definitely remnants of that in this album, Worse Than Dead is a refreshingly straight-forward heavy release that highlights the musicians’ other, more serious, talents.
As expected, Worse Than Dead starts out packing aggression with an energy-filled punch in the opening track and keeps that vibe going throughout the rest of the record. As a good starting song should, “Drop the Gun” prepares the listener for the assault of relentless hardcore that is to come in the rest of the album. Iron Reagan also brings back a lost art in punk and hardcore, sparingly throwing in samples, like at the beginning of “I Predict the Death of Harold Camping,” which gives the record the feel of an underground punk release from the early 2000s, but only in the best way. They also use a sample for the last song on the album, “Walking Out,” that sounds exactly like a fire alarm, which helps to bring the listener right out of his comfort zone, if somehow he backed into it during this unstoppably heavy album.
Iron Reagan’s Worse Than Dead is a fantastic debut album for such an interesting and talented group of musicians, and sounds exactly like what you’d expect from these two bands, bringing out the best in each of them. A great album for fans of high energy hardcore punk, as well as listeners looking to hear the folks in Municipal Waste sound a bit more serious, and a whole lot more heavy.