Album Title: Order Of The Mind
Label: Nuclear Blast
Date of Release: 27 March 2020
I wasn’t going to review ‘Order Of The Mind’ by Irist until I was enticed into doing so by a few acquaintances on a couple of social media platforms. I’m not sure why, because I’d not listened to any of the advance tracks and hadn’t been put off that way. And there must have been something positive about the band given that heavyweight heavy metal label Nuclear Blast signed them up for their debut album. After all, Irist have only been in existence for around five years. And yet, there was something holding me back, whispering in my mind telling me this wasn’t going to be for me and I should move on.
But, swayed by the fervour of others, I took the plunge and here I am spending my precious spare time putting together a review. That voice in my head was wrong as it turns out, because ‘Order Of The Mind’ is an impressive record, made all the more impressive given that this is the debut from a previously unknown quintet from Georgia, USA.
As good as this record is, I did initially feel a little out of my depth. Why? Because I’ve never been the biggest fan of the likes of Gojira or Mastodon, both of whom undoubtedly play a part in influencing the sound of Irist. But there’s also plenty of post-metal influences too, as well as a good dollop of death metal, and (for me) the dreaded ‘core’, be it preceded by either ‘metal’ or ‘hard’. It would be fair to suggest that there’s a certain punk-like attitude too, as well as a bit of sludge. So, in its defence, the voice in my head was probably on the money. It just so happens though, that there’s an exception that proves every rule and Irist are the exception here.
What I like about the music on ‘Order Of The Mind’ is that it sounds aggressive, confrontational and often quite uncomfortable. But for all the brutality, of which there is an awful lot, there are moments of astounding melody or of quiet, introspective calm, verging on ambient territory. There’s also plenty of clever progressive intent. And what’s more, the blend never feels clunky; it is testament to the songwriting abilities of the band that everything comes together with a cohesiveness that ensures you often don’t realise the shift in direction or the addition of a certain influence because the transitions, despite the jagged heaviness, are smooth as silk.
Nowhere is this more evident that within opening track, ‘Eons’, which wastes no time in signalling the intent of the band. It is a ball of energy from the very beginning thanks to a deliberately muffled but attitude-rich intro comprised of fuzzy guitars, energetic drumming and squealing feedback. It then explodes into life with chunky, groovy riffs courtesy of guitarists Adam Mitchell and Pablo Davila, overlaid with savage, no-nonsense harsh vocals from Rodrigo Carvalho. After a couple of shifts in tempo, where blasts from drummer Jason Belisha enter the fray, the latter stages open up to reveal an arresting melody that somehow reminds me a little of Sylosis at their epic best. There is a momentary foray into calm, near ambient territory before the epic heaviness returns to see out the song. The amount of music packed into a song that lasts significantly less than four minutes is rather astounding.
But if you thought that the energy and the brutality was reserved only for the opening salvo, you’d be sorely mistaken. In fact, the opener is very typical of the rest of the album, at least in terms of it’s overall aggression and heaviness.
Aside from an extended period of quiet reflection and whispered vocals at the heart of the song, ‘Burning Sage’ is an absolute monster of a song, full of groove, led by thick walls of guitars and a powerful rhythmic heartbeat provided by drummer Belisha alongside bassist Bruno Segovia.
Another great asset for Irist comes heavily to the fore within ‘Severed’, namely the clean, rich vocals of guitarist Adam Mitchell. They really remind me of a blend of Mastodon and Fear Factory if that even makes any sense, but they really enhance a track that contains some genuinely great double-pedal drumming and engaging dual harmony melodies, as well as a more pronounced sludgy feel at points. ‘Creation’ is a more majestic-sounding composition with an all-enveloping feel to it, thanks in part to some soaring vocals, monolithic chugging riffs and a minute-long outro which is pure, soothing ambient beauty.
Elsewhere, ‘Dead Prayers’ is a really delicious composition that finds the sweet spot between spiky death metal-cum-hardcore aggression and elegant, light melody, whilst ‘Harvester’ offers a delightful brooding intensity at the same time as generally slowing the pace to a more measured mid-tempo. And the churning, stomping groove witnessed within ‘The Well’ is really rather splendid.
To that voice in my head then, you were wrong, so very wrong. For all of the influences that I’d not normally gravitate towards, as well as my general mistrust and malaise towards modern, ‘core’-infused music, ‘Order Of The Mind’ has had a definite impact on me. I believe the angst and the aggression, I feel the melodies and the groove when it arrives, is irresistible. To think that this is just the beginning fills me with much excitement; I predict big things for this bunch of young musicians by the name of Irist.
The Score of Much Metal: 92%
Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: