Over the course of their five-year career, UK quintet Iron Monkey released only two full lengths, but were very much the definition of a cult band. Like a British version of Eyehategod, their brand of crusty sludge metal should have gotten them rich and famous, yet neither happened. The band signed with Earache Records, but according to them, never made any money (and still have yet to), and their last show was allegedly played in front of 40 people. The band broke up in 1999 after the label refused to send them money to fly vocalist Johnny Morrow back home after he took ill on tour with a life-threatening kidney condition. He died from a heart attack three years later in 2002. If there’s any band that would seem unlikely to reunite, it would be them, but that happened back at the tail end of 2016, and Relapse has announced that they’ve signed the band, who are working on a new album.
Iron Monkey are now a trio consisting of co-founding members S. Watson on bass and J. Rushby on guitar and vocals. They’re rounded out by S. Briggs, who played with Morrow in the band My War. They’re recording their first album since 1998’s Our Problem with Johnny A. Carter. It will consist of eight originals and a cover and is expected out in late summer or early fall.
Here’s what the band say about their reformation:
“We’re older, more cynical, more isolationist. Musically, we’re more aggressive, more focused – a direct assault. We intend to take what is rightfully ours, usurp the scene, then crush its skull.”
With their legend having grown over the past two decades, and on a label that will sink the proper resources into them, Iron Monkey should have a much better run this time.