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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Sludge-Iron Monkey

Today's Sunday Sludge featured artist is Iron Monkey. Iron Monkey from Nottingham, UK was formed in 1994 and disbanded in 1999. The band combined crusty punk with crushing doom riffs to lay the groudwork for other bands in the genre citing influences such as Grief, Eyehategod and the almighty Black Sabbath. The band's original lineup consisted of Justin Greaves (drums, ex-Bradworthy), Johnny Morrow (vocals), Jim Rushby (guitar), Steve Watson (guitar, ex-Cerebral Fix) and Doug Dalziel (Bass, ex-Ironside).

While their intent was "to irritate as many people as possible," according to bass player Doug Dalziel. That may have worked for a while, but eventually the band had to deal with the fact that quite a few people actually liked what they were doing.

The band had a six-song EP that was originally released on Union Mill in 1995 but eventually gained the interest of Nottingham based metal heavyweight label Earache Records who reissued the album in 1996 (Rumor has it that Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo was listening to the self-titled release when he overdosed on heroin in 1996). Unfortunately before the deal mas made, original guitarist Steve Watson was fired and replaced by Dean Berry. The band released their second album "Our Problem" to critical acclaim on Earache Records in 1998. The big label exposure transformed Iron Monkey from a local force into one of two powerhouse sludge bands in the late '90s, the other being New Orleans' Eyehategod. After recording Our Problem, Iron Monkey remained fiercely independent, recording the last effort by the group, the 10" record and CD split with Japanese doom merchants Church of Misery, "We've Learned Nothing", for Melvins cover artist and stoner rock label owner Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin records.

In 1999, Jim Rushby left the band and was replaced by ex-Acrimony guitarist Stu O'Hara. Unfortunately, due to a variety of personal and industry problems ultimately lead to the band's demise in September of the same year.

Justin, Jim and Johnny formed the band Armour of God and Dean, Doug and Stu formed Dukes of Nothing. Johnny went on to form the bands My War and Murder One before eventually suffering a fatal heart attack in the summer of 2002. Justin has since played in an array of bands that include Borknagar, Silver Ginger Five, Hard To Swallow (also with Jim), Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, British Doom titans Electric Wizard and now plays in Crippled Black Phoenix. Dean played for the underground post-doom/sludge/core group Capricorns (signed on Lee Dorrian's Rise Above Records), while Stu went on to play in Black Eye Riot. He's now playing with Acrimony members in a yet to be named stoner-groove outfit. Jim currently plays in Geriatric Unit. A live and rare tracks album entitled Ruined by Idiots was released in 2003 on Maniac Beast Records.

If you are just getting into Sludge a great place to start is with 1998's album "Our Problem" (read a review here). This album provides a bludgeoning in-your-face assault that combines undistinguishable screaming tortured vocals, Sabbath-like doom riffs along with an element of industrial noise.

Click here for the band's complete discography.


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