Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Cast Iron Hike

Cast Iron Hike- The Salmon Drive EP
Cast Iron Hike- s/t
Cast Iron Hike- Watch It Burn

Did ‘The Salmon Drive’ really come out more than ten years ago? Damn.
The first time I saw Cast Iron Hike play was at the first Space in Worcester- a converted shed by a cemetery. Joe and Todd drove me and Mike G. down for that one. The lineup was Iris (Ed’s band,) Cast Iron Hike and Shift. (Texas Is The Reason, the slated headliners, had van trouble or some shit.) I knew a grand total of one CiH song at that point in time, ‘One Grand Soap Opera,’ which had been on a sampler CD that came with a local fanzine. They played it, I remember, and I was excited- “YOOOOOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE A CRIMINAAAAAAAL WITH A GUN IN MY HAYYYYY-YUND!” The band was tight, but didn’t deviate that much from formulaic heavy. The vocals did the trick- kinda crooned instead of shouted, with a little bit more lyrical depth than the standard hardcore fare of the day.
Next: the self-titled EP on Trustkill. Same formula, but much better production, sanding down the rough edges a little bit and boosting what needed to be boosted. ‘Boxed’ was the hit (a redux is on the LP- more on that in a second.) More shows (I think I saw CiH/Iris/Stricken for Catherine twice) and more time. Then the band was signed to Victory, the big hardcore label.
‘Watch It Burn’ starts the album with a metaphorical razing of a hometown. ‘Let Me Down’ starts quiet and gradually builds to a heavy crescendo three minutes in- new ground broken.
Gotta say that I can imagine that big fans were a little bit disappointed. ‘Boxed’ and ‘Swimming Through Sand’ had previously been released. Hell, even ‘One Grand Soap Opera’ shows up on this record, a little snippet in a space-filler called ‘As The World (B)urns.’ And speaking of space fillers, what’s up with the eighteen minutes of feedback and hiss at the end of the record?
So the record seems almost patched together at points, but, as my old coworkers can attest, I played ‘Watch It Burn’ like three times a week when I was working at a downtown record store- hell, I even put it on my top ten list in 1997 (back when I still bought enough new records every year so that I could construct top ten lists.) Thinking about the band and their records makes me feel nostalgic in the best way- finishing school, not knowing what was next and not minding because the field was wide open and full of potential.

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