From out of Johannesburg, South Africa comes an EP filled with more intensity than an e20 minibus taxi filtering along the pavement at high speed. ‘The Iridium Experiment‘ is the brainchild of Kenneth Hughes and Ewan Botha who have brought us “Hero. Villain. Victim“.
Initially put together as a creative project they decided to take the show on the road with Ewan Botha (vocals), Kenneth Hugh (lead guitar), Merrick ‘The Bear’ Kyle (bass guitar), Damian ‘D.C.’ Coldfield (rhythm guitar), Caleb Smith (drums) and Nick Rhynas (vocals).
The opening title track has a curious haunting tone flanked by the vocals that are ever searching for something like a headless phantom. This is the aluminium part before the hard as iridium section kicks in as the guttural vocals then kick to give the album its first edgy cut. Towards the end, there are some female vocal parts the circle around the music giving extra depth.
Iridium is the second densest element at 22.56 grams per cubic centimetre (versus say Aluminium which is 2.7 g/cm3)
“Root = Cause = Analysis” seems to be similar to that of swivelling around a pole as the whole concept appears to be that the song rotates on itself. There are lead guitar parts within that contribute towards the overall vibe but they don’t ever shine. I see what they were trying to do though and think that If the vocals didn’t quite reach what thought of in concept.
“We, the forgotten” brings us back to something more akin to an album that we are after. This pulse driven melancholic beast chugs along and delivers a solid track mixed with the passionate message in the middle flying in formation with melodic notes.
Iridium is one of the rarest metals on the planet and if you wanted to experiment on it costs about $280 per gram.
Rolling on into the next we have “Losing my mind” that buoys up your metalcore fix with grinding vocals and up/down stroke thrash style riff. Midway we have a welcome changed patch of pace change that leads us into come air-guitar riffs.
The last track “Bathos” starts off with some eerie sounds that lead into face slapping metal. The initial section was a little to quick to get into the main section which might’ve been great to have a buildup but this is followed on by some deep vocals that vary greatly. In the quieter sections, they continue to provide ambience with ringing metal hollow instrument sounds.
Even at temps of 2000 C iridium doesn’t oxidise and you might find it inexpensive spark plugs.
Unusual tones and sounds can be heard sporadically throughout the album giving the album a unique tonality. I’d like to say that that the first track might be considered peculiar to South African 90’s rock as the first song reminds me of this time. “We, the forgotten” and “Bathos” are then other examples were simply doing the same thing over was not an option.
The whole album is a testament to what these guys are able to do and the skills they have. While I feel that perhaps that balance between the instruments was not perfect and the clean vocals lacked the lustre and individuality that would set them apart from the rest this an album that would sit comfortably on a shelf as much as it would send a mosh pit into a frenzy.
They have another version of this album called “Okesutora” meaning “Orchestra” in Japanese which is the instrumental version of the album which is worth a listen as it provides a unique take on the album.
The Iridium Experiment: Facebook
Release Year: 2021
Country: South Africa
Reviewed by Byron Lotz