I AM “Eternal Steel”
By Lord Randall
Begun by vocalist Brandon Hileman in his 20th year, Texans I AM solidified their lineup in 2017, and have since put out a couple albums sparking a level of interest completely relative to the listener’s enjoyment of groove metal. While the Lone Star State has a plethora of fantastic metal bands, I’ll stand on Phil Anselmo’s ego and swear that PANTERA was never one of them. Yet still, their influence looms large, and thus we arrive at “Eternal Steel”, I AM’s third.
“The Primal Wave” is the grabbing of low hanging fruit from an orchard of already rotten fruit, Hileman’s toothless barking as threatening as it’s never been, the death metal equivalent of BIOHAZARD in its jumpdafucup-edness, the band playing right along with the ruse. I’d term “The Iron Gate” pedestrian if it could walk (“Are you talking to me?”) without stumbling all over the place, so haphazard are the riffs and rhythms here, unfocused tossing-about of ideas under the auspices of “technicality”, while the title track keeps the blender blending, combining every cast-off DYING FETUS song and a simply irritating guitar tone made more so because it never changes to create sub-par “extremity”.
“Infernal Panther”? Really?! Apparently so, but worry not, listener, for this big cat is tranquilized, fat and bloated on a diet of vocal machismo and braggadocio, the music unable to deliver on the sought-for ferocity. “Heaven On Earth” actually holds my attention, because it’s the only time I AM deviates from the deathcore circa 2002 template whatsoever. Maybe the quintet’s simply not confident enough to step out from behind its influences, but when it does, as here, it might just be onto something.
For now, and until it does, though, I AM is a hard pass. And regrettably that’s about the only thing hard about “Eternal Steel”.