Across three full-length slabs of bludgeoning intensity and snarling rage, I AM put a Southern stamp and revitalised swagger into deathcore, a subgenre rarely as raw, energised, and diverse as this band. In the spirit of fellow Southern icons Pantera and newer Texan heroes Power Trip, the band channel discontent and anger into empowering anthems, as likely to inspire a gruelling workout as to incite the pit. Reminiscent of the combination of death metal heaviness and thrash metal speed found in the early catalogue of Sepultura, I AM mine the heaviness of Morbid Angel and the dexterity of the Big Four to create something ground-breaking of their own.
Guitarist Tom Reyes comments on 'Surrender To The Blade': “When I sat down and that first riff came out, immediately the idea was to just make a metal head banging anthem. Nothing flashy or complex, we just wanted it to sound huge and capture a good groove. [First single] ‘The Iron Gate’ was a newer direction for us, so with each step in that direction, we wanted to compliment a twist on our heavy roots. Actually, the verse riff was meant for a song on Hard 2 Kill -- hats off to anyone who can guess which one -- but it ended up being a much better fit for this song. Then [founding vocalist] Andrew [Hileman]’s lyrical concept fit perfectly with the instrumental. You hear the first riff and it’s a no brainer; it’s a raising-your-sword-for-battle-type of anthem.”
Brandishing a unique blend of furious thrash and death metal like a weapon of mass destruction, I AM are purely no-nonsense in their patented “Texas Death” assault. Armed with riffs, speed, and overwhelming power, “I AM writes songs that make you want to move” (Decibel Magazine).
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Randy Leboeuf (Kublai Khan, Sentinels, The Acacia Strain), Eternal Steel, the quintet’s debut for MNRK Heavy, combines the onslaught of the band’s well-received Hard 2 Kill (2018) with the primal bite of Life Through Torment (2017) into a singular statement of intent.
I AM have earned a reputation for devastation in the live environment, converting doubters and curious onlookers alike into diehard believers with sweat and determination. And across the two most recent records, they established themselves as a band who never writes the same song twice.
“You won’t mistake one track for another,”Reyes assures. “Not in a way that sounds scattered or disorganized. It’s just that we have a range within our sound. We exercise free rein creatively.”
Eternal Steel songs like 'Iron Gate,' 'Infernal Panther,' 'Queen Incarnate,' and the title track are demonstrative of the diverse extremes on offer. Menacing moods, blistering thrash, and crushing death collide all over the record. The lyrics harness the power of dark subject matter in ways that serve and inspire the listener. “For example, the topic of ‘fear’ is addressed in the song ‘The Primal Wave,’ but in a way where that fear is used to fuel you to overcome obstacles,”Hileman explains.
The death n’ roll groove of Obituary, the street-smart violence of Cro-Mags, it all coalesces into something fresh, exciting, and distinctly I AM. Hearkening to the past of classic metal with a hard shove forward into the future, these guys transcend genre limitations with a sound built to last.
“The band’s music is an angry headbanger’s dream.” – Kerrang!
“I AM reigns supreme.” – New Transcendence
I AM are: Andrew Hileman – vocals Tom Reyes – guitar Chris Burgess – guitar Erik Rodriguez – bass Brandon Busa – drums
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Eternal Steel track-listing:
1. The Primal Wave 2. Surrender To The Blade 3. The Iron Gate 4. Eternal Steel 5. Vicious Instinct 6. Infernal Panther 7. Queen Incarnate 8. Heaven On Earth 9. Price Of Pain 10. Eye Candy 11. Manic Cure