Texas death unit I AM will release their Eternal Steel full-length September 9th via MNRK Heavy, today unveiling the record’s artwork, track listing, and first single!
Brandishing a unique blend of furious thrash and death metal like a weapon of mass destruction, I AM is purely no-nonsense in their patented “Texas Death” assault. Armed with riffs, speed, and overwhelming power.
Across three full-length slabs of bludgeoning intensity and snarling rage, I AM puts a Southern stamp and revitalized swagger into deathcore, a subgenre rarely as raw, energized, and diverse as this band. In the spirit of fellow Southern icons Pantera and newer Texan heroes Power Trip, I AM channels discontent and anger into empowering anthems, as likely to inspire a grueling workout as to incite the pit. Reminiscent of the combination of death metal heaviness and thrash metal speed found in the early catalog of Sepultura, I AM mines the heaviness of Morbid Angel and the dexterity of the Big 4 to create something groundbreaking of their own. Vocalist Andrew Hileman — who started the band in 2011 — guitarists Tom Reyes and Chris Burgess, bassist Erik Rodriguez, and drummer Ian Scott deliver their Texas Death in clubs, theaters, and festivals, with bands like The Acacia Strain and Kublai Khan.
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.
“We took what we did well on Hard 2 Kill to new extremes on Eternal Steel,” notes Reyes. “It’s faster than the last album, it’s heavier than the last album, and it expands on every other aspect of our sound. ‘Heavy’ doesn’t always have to mean ‘slow.’ Frequently for us, the faster parts are equally as heavy.”
In advance of the release of Eternal Steel, today I AM unveils a video for the record’s first single, “The Iron Gate,” now playing at BrooklynVegan.
Comments Hileman, “When searching for solace and protection, I tend to find it’s often met with opposite hostility. The process of growth only occurs when forced into these uncomfortable situations. ‘The Iron Gate’ is that place of cruelty that I find so beautiful for the soul. Beware and enter if you dare.”
Adds BrooklynVegan, “This might be an overall faster record, but first single ‘The Iron Gate’ largely finds I AM exploring their slower, doomier side, with just a small dose of thrash peppered in… It’s a very heavy, very Texas, very promising first taste of the LP.”
I AM has 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.
Andrew Hileman – vocals
Tom Reyes – guitar
Chris Burgess – guitar
Erik Rodriguez – bass
Brandon Busa – drums