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Being a really big Devin Townsend fan myself I decided to look through the bands that he has been a part of, and in turn discovered IR8. After finding their page on the archives, I noticed that Jason Newstead and Tom Hunting were also in the band. Seeing this I thought to myself "man I really have to get my hands on this demo", and when I did, it sounded absolutely
nothing like I would have expected.
Jason is an awesome vocalist, he has a very guttural style, sounds almost like a classic death metal vocalist along the lines of say Armoured Angel or maybe Possessed but just slowed and toned down a little. The guitar is very doom-like, but also crushing and heavy at the same time, as a matter of fact this demo is almost a preview of a less melodic, doom-like Strapping Young Lad. The drumming isn't anything spectacular but it is very solid and fits the overall sound of the album well. The production is surprisingly decent for a demo, but maybe that's because I'm used to hearing black metal demos with amazingly low-quality production.
It is really unfortunate that they only managed to release this one demo, because the material found on it is of a great standard. They open with "Colossus", and what a song to open with! "I am colossus respect me or die" these lyrics are some of my favourite and they have a real fuck-off attitude, without being juvenile in approach. "Nothing" is next and well, this song certainly isn't nothing... It's something, and certainly proves that by imposing itself upon the listener. "You... are... nothing!!!" Jason bellows out, he almost makes you want to believe what he is saying. Then the demo finishes with the song "Black on Black", which is the only song on the demo that I can hear the bass in, and that only lasts around ten seconds, before Devin for the third song in a row lays down an awesome riff to set the tone for the song. This song is much thrashier than the two before it and is a great way to finish the release.
Overall this is a very good release and one could just imagine what this band may have achieved if they were to not have broken up. Unfortunately this did not happen, but instead we are left with this very high quality demo.
It's a pity Mr. Newsted spend so many years with Metallica when he could have been putting music like this. The IR8 demo features 3 songs (Colossus, Nothing, Black on Black) sadly these are the only 3 songs the band produced. Jason vocals are a thing of beauty, the sheer aggressiveness of his voice is hard to put into words. When he shouts "I am Colossus, Respect me or die" it's really seems that it is a giant soldier screaming across a concurred city.
Townsend is great as usual providing some great riffs and some excellent leads, the in Black on Black fits the song perfectly. Hunting's drumming is nothing special put it does what it needs to do and never takes away from the music.
The worst part of this demo is that it is the only material the band ever put out and once you hear it you'll be wanting more and more.