Iroha - Shepherds & Angels (Denovali records)
CD/DL/LP
Out December 7th, 2012

After listening to Iroha’s second album, Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham makes an assessment of where the band fits in between shoe gaze, electronic and metal.

A glorious guitar sound, slow, slow slow and heavy as a skip falling on you, but the heaviness gets lost in the delicacy of the voice and the feel of the music. Shoegaze but not fey, not light and airy, it’s hard as nails but open to the world. Polished and fine, but dirty underneath its fingernails.
The music flows along like a glacier. Reflecting the light from all around it yet grinding forward over anything in its way. The bass and drums are understated and all but lost under the massive walls of guitar that has been built up slowly across each song. The music uses space, the gaps make you wait for the next crash of guitar, you will it to keep going and not stop.

The vocal is quiet and lush, floating over the slow sound; this is where the comparisons to shoe gaze have come from, the sound just flows, the vocal just makes this feel a little more fragile, a little more human. The album is electronic but not cold, metal but not harsh and shoegaze but not wishy-washy. It’s a contradiction in a classic sense, of disparate elements coming together to make something unexpected and quite beautiful.
‘Whatever goes around, whatever goes around now….comes around someday’

 

Iroha are from Birmingham, with links to the early Grindcore bands with members of Godflesh, and FINAL. Justin Broderick remixed the first album for a bonus disc. The industrial sound that permeates much of the music to emerge from the second city is apparent in the feel of this album. It isn’t in-your-face aggression or pummelling sound, but it comes from the same place, ‘Remember home is where the heart is’ the Sabbathesque guitar riffs remind you of Birmingham’s legacy.

‘Memories are all that’s left for me’, the feel of the album emotionally is of melancholy and regret but there is a light too: the listener is left with a sense of hope at the end of the record.

This is a beautiful sounding record, sculpted from its influences to create a completely contemporary sound; something to listen to when the nights turn dark and the mists rise around the streetlights.

Visit Iroha on Facebook and twitter. You can listen to their stuff at bandcamp and Soundcloud. And, of course, you can visit them on their label’s website.

All words by Adrian Bloxham, more writing by Adrian on Louder Than War can be found here.

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