While music releases have been allowed to pour out as usual over the course of this year (albeit, some have been delayed), a great deal of films have not been so lucky. It’s not just the major Hollywood films either, up until now you probably never heard of the film Iron Survivor 2, let alone the first Iron Survivor; the most recent instalment centring around a protagonist that finds himself immersed in a surprisingly dangerous subculture of underground rock paper scissors contests. What such a film or such a competition would look like we’ll never know, but what we do get is the music that was intended for the film courtesy of Richmond, Virginia outfit Hewolf, a trio composed of ex-members of bands like Alabama Thunderpussy, Iron Regan and Darkest Hour. Their strong grunge and metal influences have culminated in 4 EPs over the last six years, and with Iron Survivor 2: The Original Soundtrack, we now get their fifth.
The doomy, heavy beginning of “Grip It” runs parallel with early Soundgarden and recent Deftones, kicking into a standard, riffy 4/4 rock groove that’s both raw and clear enough to be convincing rather than being lost in incoherent fuzz and distortion. “Go All The Way” bears uncanny resemblance to Corrosion Of Conformity circa Deliverance, evoking the same culmination of Master Of Reality and Crowbar with a Seattle twist; Running off that dynamic the high-energy “Dirty Pretty Things” sees Badmotorfinger collide with the neo-garage of recent years. “In Too Deep” strikes similarly to “Go All The Way” with more of a dragging, sludgy feel, contrastingly “Nothing Is Over” darkly pounds, chugs and drives the way a song for a high-stakes action scene should (provided that’s what this track was intended for). “Iron Survivor Theme” provides the obligatory “Eye Of The Tiger” for the salvaged soundtrack; on a side note, in the wake of the film’s demise, syncing this song for a video game adaption wouldn’t be a bad idea and could advance the franchise in a big way despite the current setback- Just a thought.
Despite the odds and the absence of a visual to accompany it, Iron Survivor 2 ultimately turns out to be a great demonstration of what Hewolf is about, from their influences down to their progressing sound of their own. It’s an unadulterated dose of alternative rock and metal that as you’re banging your head to it allows you to picture the scenes these six songs could have been splashed over in your mind as well. With that said, the world does not need another Hewolf EP; what it needs is an album.