Irk are a rather interesting prospect. The band take the off kilter, palm-muted chaos of djent and mix it with progressive metal in a similar vein to Deftones and earthtone9 and it makes for a sound that is wonderfully unique. The band released their debut EP Bread and Honey back in May and it’s a record that’s seriously worthy of your attention.
The Leeds trio have a sound that is worryingly large for a band so early into their career. Bread and Honey is a quaking beast of an EP stuffed with massive riffs and heart-on-sleeve yelping. There are no verses and choruses to be found on this record and it’s extremely better off for all its progressive leanings.
Irk are a big fan of groove and these bass-heavy riffs pack a serious punch. From the moment the EP starts with its blood-curdling scream and monolithic melody you know you’re in for one hell of a ride. EP opener Care Taker barrels along with all the disjointed twitchiness of a great TesseracT riff but thanks to the raw, thrashy fury of the drum work it comes across with more of a mathcore vibe and it’s an absolute joy to listen to.
What also helps Irk’s music is their appreciation for the Deftones’ quiet/loud dynamic. The songs on Bread and Honey often slow down and strip back the intensity to allow for a moment’s respite before the band unleash all hell and blast another huge riff into your face. It’s not the most original trick in the book but Irk know how to use it with masterful devastation like in the middle eight of Mammalian Love March.
Special mention has to be given to the bass because the twangy, funk-laden bass-lines are a huge draw across the entire EP. They bolster the impact of the riffs and add to the raucous energy that the band feed off. Bread and Honey really is a hugely satisfying listening experience.
Special mention also has to be given to the production because unlike the djent bands that Irk are influenced by, someone has seen fit to not give this EP that typical, shiny layer of polish that’s so common on djent releases. Irk are considerably better off sounding raw and aggressive and it really sounds like the band put all their blood, sweat and tears into these recordings. If Bread and Honey was given the clean, glassy production of a TesseracT recording then it simply wouldn’t have the same ball-busting impact.
The only real negative I can throw at this EP is it’s all over in 10 minutes and quite frankly I need more. Irk have whet my appetite for more rollicking, mathcore lunacy and that’s a pretty good indication as to how good Bread and Honey is. You’d be a fool not to give Irk at least 10 minutes of your time. It might be the best 10 minutes you’ve had with heavy music this year.
Irk’s Bread and Honey is available to download now and at a pay-what-you-want price point directly from the band. You should probably go and get it right now.