Canada's Goodfellow Records has consistently unearthed the kind of bands that scrape, crawl, and destroy in fine sludge and hardcore fashion. Add Seattle's IAMTHETHORN to that list. Debut EP "You Are the Lamb" is 23 minutes of EYEHATEGOD-style angry sludge and doom, in this case with the boys pissed off about all things religion. The band includes several familiar names from the Seattle scene: Vocalist Johnny Pettibone (HIMSA, NINE IRON SPITFIRE, GENUINE, UNDERTOW), guitarist/screamer Aaron Edge (GRIEVOUS, HAULER, GENUINE, HARKONEN, HIMSA, CHRIST, HELLEPHANT), drummer Joe Axler (SKARP, BOOK OF BLACK EARTH, SPLATTERHOUSE), and bassist Jerad Shealey (RECEDER). Together they create a respectable, if familiar, meal of hate stew.
Making your way through these five tracks you will of course hear the aforementioned godfathers of the style, EYEHATEGOD, as well as snippets of CROWBAR and slivers of vintage '90s hardcore. "Becoming Death" with its ominous bass line and the doom-laded despondency of "Cutman" are slower paced, steamroller sludge. Pettibone's sandpaper shouts are genuinely pissed off and strongly delivered. His patterns and inflection on "Crawling Over Them" are vaguely reminiscent of the psychotic vocals heard on the live version of ROLLINS BAND's "Gun in Mouth Blues", a compliment of the highest order. The tempo is kicked up considerably on "The Hunt and Beyond", the closest to INTEGRITY's raging hardcore approach heard on the disc (a video for the track is also included). As far as the riff tone and sound mix are concerned, the band has nailed it. It is as filthy and ironbound as you would expect for this kind of dirt covered and contemptuous fare.
Collectively, "You Are the Lamb" is easily recommended for fans of the genre, even if it does not quite fall into classic territory. I've heard better, but that's no slam on the album, just an acknowledgment of the genre's richness. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing anyway. Not too shabby.