Powell St. John
(Sponsored by Strait Music Company)
"Iron Age are very important to the history of Texas hardcore and metal," Blake Ibanez, guitarist for beloved Dallas thrash revivalists Power Trip, told the Chronicle in 2019. "It's safe to say we wouldn't be a band if it wasn't for them."
Led by singer/conceptualist Jason Tarpey and late guitarist/composer Wade Allison, the electrifying Austin quintet took the hardcore/thrash metal hybrid dubbed crossover and injected strains of doom, swords 'n' sorcery based on a fantasy concept by Tarpey, and Lovecraftian cosmic horror for a pioneering amalgam heard 'round the Lone Star State and far beyond.
Following the traditional hardcore of 2006's Constant Struggle, Iron Age released its masterpiece, 2009's The Sleeping Eye, a powerhouse namechecked by modern metalheads. Lincoln Mullins of Denton maulers Creeping Death calls it "one of the greatest records to ever come out of this state. The Texas scene would not be the same now without it." The album and its creators prompted Power Trip, with Ibanez and drummer Chris Ulsh (whose band Mammoth Grinder sometimes included Allison) both serving time in Iron Age post-Sleeping Eye.
"These bands are all shouting out Texas, basically," said Tarpey, who now writes fiction, works as a blacksmith, and leads the power metal band Eternal Champion, which continues the story begun in the lyrics for The Sleeping Eye. "They realize that this specific kind of crossover is a Texas sound."
"We were always wholly compelled by our own vision of what we needed to put out there," said Allison a year or so before his unexpected passing in 2020. "It made sense to us, and now it makes sense to a few more people."
Ibanez big-ups Iron Age more unequivocally: "Their records continue to be revered, and their legacy remains intact." – Michael Toland
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