“It’s About Time!”, states the opening track title of Iron Lizards’ debut full-length album. Five years have elapsed since the French trio released the Red EP in 2016, so it’s no doubt a fitting sentiment to lend as the moniker of the record’s opener; it’s also a number I’m certain they will thoroughly appreciate blasting at unsuspecting audiences when taking this record to the live stage.
We should move on – there are faces to melt, and the band (as it plainly states) are Hungry For Action. Why such a hurry? Well, the album takes its brand of speed rock‘n’roll literally and doesn’t hang around for long; seriously, this is one musical outing that you’ll need to be ready for, or risk being left in its dust. At 27 minutes, there’s every possibility that you’ll find yourself wanting more, both from individual tracks and the experience as a whole. You’ve been warned.
With that in mind, hit play and you’ll be hit yourself: Iron Lizards blitz out of the gate, and the onslaught is utterly relentless. Willingly or not, you’re pummelled by a reptilian rock missile that takes no prisoners. Of course, with literal decades of influence inspiring their sound, the resulting cacophony is deep-rooted and heavily laden with a sincere investment in both your total enjoyment and utter submission to it. So, what’s under the hood that keeps this beast running?
Hungry For Action runs on a fuel comprising numerous musical stylings as the catalyst for this adrenaline-pumping mayhem. Blended seamlessly, the potent concoction delivers distorted dynamite throughout, while paying clear homage to several eras of sound. Take, for example, a rooting in the garage punk forged in the ’60s by the likes of The Stooges and MC5. Look no further than “Ex” and “Confusion Blues” to hear this for yourself, with moments of catchy melody peppered amidst the raw noise for a finely tuned balance that’s greatly executed.
Added into the mix is a hefty spoonful of pacy ’80s ferocity that dials up the heaviness. “Iron Lizards” and “No Motivation” epitomise this, as well as many others, with their bludgeoning percussion running rampant alongside the kind of forceful fretwork and bass-driven, rhythmic ruckus that you might associate with renowned acts such as Motörhead or even Minor Threat.
Move on another decade and the musical pedigree gains another level of turbo, injected by a sizeable reverence for ’90s action rock; this particular foundation is a volatile, crucial addition to the formula and prevalent from start to finish. Consider acts like New Bomb Turks, Zeke, or The Hellacopters – with their frenzy of power chords, hollered vocal delivery, and a chaotic, unparalleled sense of perpetual motion – and you’re very much cruising, nay speeding, along the right track.
It doesn’t end there, though. Despite clearly showing a fondness for the sounds of those listed above, there’s even flourishes of garage/psychobilly bands such as Reverend Horton Heat and The Cramps – evident in the guitar tones on songs like “Monster Hero” and “Deathride”. Ultimately, we’ve a compressed hybrid of many appealing styles, all balled up into a three-man package of power. It’s tied off neatly with lashings of lead guitar work that’s bound to have you banging your head, thrashing your air guitar, and spilling your beverage.
My only conceivable gripe with this record is its brief lifespan. I’m all for quality over quantity, but with twelve songs crammed inside half an hour – and not a single one breaking the three-minute mark – each playthrough leaves me with a terrific aftertaste, but an underfilled belly. I guess the ultimate, bittersweet truth is that sometimes you encounter music that offers quality in such a damned appealing package you can’t help but pine for the quantity of what’s on offer to be a little more extensive. Nitpicking, I know.
However fleeting the experience may be, the more I listen to this firecracker of an album from Iron Lizards, the closer I come to quitting my job and seeing out the remainder of my days drinking motor oil, tearing up asphalt barefoot, and punching horizons in the mouth with a clenched, acidic fist. Hungry For Action? Damn right, and now I’m hungry for more.