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Irata: Vultures Vultures
CD EP 2012 | Silber 119
5 tracks, 21 minutes
$8 ($14 international, $3 download (MP3 320 kbps, includes digital booklet)
Irata finally returns!  The horns are gone & replaced with vocals, but they still have their unique aggressive progressive sludge sound that kicks you in the gut at the same time it smashes you in face.

: Press Release
: Listen to the track Old Smoker

Track Listing:
Old Smoker, Keepers Maker, Deluge, Miser, Serpents

Twenty minutes is long enough for North Carolina duo Irata to unleash five massive freakouts that draw from metal, doom, psychedelic rock and many a Southern night of backwoods terror and euphoria. “Vultures” does not so much rock as stomp and imperil.
The riffs are massive, as on “Keepers Maker,” or languid and sustained as on “Old Smoker.” “Deluge” and “Miser” wallow in sludge and ritualistic drone. In terms of heave groove, the closing “Serpents” fits the bill, though by then Irata have already staked out their primordial kinship with the swampy preachers and cave-dwelling shamen their lurching squawk evokes.
“Vultures” is a perfect EP. It gets in and out fast, but uses its time wisely in displaying the band’s wide range of sounds and sonic prowess. Irata’s metal is layered and its colors suggest menace and transcendence. The power of the riff is revealed once again, by a band capable of adding to that power through its own magic.
~ Mike Wood, Fox Digitalis

Every time I hear a two-man band, I’m amazed at the big, big sound it gets. I don’t know if this is the result of over-compensation or better chemistry, but listening to Irata I now find myself convinced that duos simply get bigger sounds than larger groups.
Greensboro, North Carolina’s Irata is big and mean and loud. By big I mean vast, massive, expansive and other similar synonyms. Shit is dump truck big. But there’s more to it than the wall of sound. That sound is colored with punk-edged swamp rock overflowing with riffs that are slow, fat and fuzzy. This is southern metal.
Irata sounds like Perry Farrell singing for the Melvins. There’s really no other way to describe it. The duo delves into math-rock, utilizing offbeat time signatures and Messhugah-like circular phrases. The songs build sluggishly and deliberately forward then backward then inside out. Every song has a trudging pace that never exceeds mid-tempo and only goes from hard to harder.
My only complaint about Vultures is that it’s too short. Granted it’s an EP, but it’s an explosive one. This is five tracks and 21 minutes of southern metal bliss. And once that time is up you want more, immediately. Band members Jason Ward and Jon Case have created something special and dripping with energy. I can’t wait to see what they do next.
~ David Feltman, Target Audience Magazine

Greensboro, NC’s three piece steamroller Irata are students of several schools that manage to keep their grades up despite a heavy workload on their debut EP Vultures. They meld the busy rhythmic depth of KARP, Federation X, and Big Business with the histrionic vocals, psychedelic hooks, and fuzzy stoner grooves of Man’s Ruin maulers Disengage. Sprinkle in some of Neurosis and Godflesh’s lofty aspirations of apocalyptic loudness and you’re even closer to the right track. It’s a strong combination that lets volumes bend to the breaking point before spreading things out with some deep atmospheric shades or a nasty riff.
Opener, “Keeper’s Maker” mangles the mind with a swollen low-end buzz and the hemorrhaged cracking of the off-kilter snare/tom patterning that crashes like a big city pile up into 18 wheeler rock riffage and an emotively shouting vocal style that calls to mind Jason Byers and Perry Farrell. The busy chord structures on the guitar boil in the 90s sizzle of desert baked heat and pungent peyote smoke; swinging and musty enough to capture the feel and aura of that long forgotten mesa, but with Irata’s own musical landscape in clear view thanks to the twitchy spires of noise-rock protruding from their sandy exoskeleton. A ritualistic, stripped-down rhythm introduced by drummer Jason Ward’s solitary kick drum and Jon Case’s looping bass pluckery cast an eerie light on the proceedings during the initial oceanic psychedelia of “Old Smoker,” the hypnotic repetitions leaving an open canvas for guitarist Cheryl Hall to paint ambient shades of cascading 6-string sweetness upon. An ominous synth adds lingering dread until the vocals rise into an ever intensifying caterwaul across staccato, sludge stuffed riff climaxing and heart stopping percussion culled from the same anti-gravity throne that King Neurosis rules over with an iron fist. The driving bass lines, tribal toms, and wah-drenched riff ride of “Deluge” return the band to the no frills, rock n’ roll arena. There’re some neat twists to this one though, including two segments where the rhythm section holds down the basic groove allowing Hall to garrote a pair of tuneful, tripped-out leads right out of their Adam’s Apples. They continue to expand their songwriting arsenal by slowing their pulse pounding aerobics into concise, three chord doom exercises during this killer song’s midsection break. EP standout, “Miser” mires in a swamp of swirling, circling shark-blues doom touches that intersect violent volume swells and spacey clean sections, as the resonating clean vocals turn into a cardiac arresting scream faster than you have a chance to say, “Meat Lover’s Pizza and a 12 pack of low grade beer, please.” Good heady stuff with tight change-ups and an emphasis on classic rock riffs and dynamic range; culminating with the crown jewels of sweltering, stoner lead guitar lickage. “Serpents” closes things off with a stuttering strut that’s somewhere between Helmet and Torche in terms of bone crunching, melody tempered groove and rhythmic syncopation.
Irata’s Vultures is an excellent listen from start to finish. The songs have some beef on their bones, and I found a lot of the hooks remaining in my head after a dedicated series of listens. Hell, I’d be sold on the quirky, doom-y stops n’ starts of “Miser” alone, but I found each track stands quite nicely on its own two feet…every song individually offering something cool to return to. This is definitely a band I’ll be keeping an eye on in the future!
~ Jay Snyder, Hellride Music

Irata ‘Vultures’ descends. Pieces tear themselves apart. Every song is filled with a large amount of aggression either realized or not. What makes Irata interesting is the restraint it can show. Transitions in the EP take a while sometimes. When Irata teases out these bursts of energy it can become quite a bit of fun. An ability to stay low until after the kill means the title of ‘Vultures’ is appropriate.
‘Old Smoker’ displays this principle quite well. Here the percussion is built up slowly. A large amount of repetition allows the song to become hypnotic. With each additional element (guitar, drum) on top of the snaking bass the full effect is overwhelming. Little stops here and there confirm this level of tension. Even the vocals add to this tense atmosphere. Yet only about halfway does the song let a bit more energy out and it is only for an instant. ‘Keepers Maker’ is the complete opposite allowing for non-stop energy. ‘Deluge’ balances the two impulses. The particular highlight is ‘Miser’ whose slow tempo works wonders. Plodding along at a slow-neck pace it has a perfect blend of maniac-depressiveness. Both emotions are in full force on this track. At the end of the EP comes ‘Serpent’ whose sound blends perfectly with the vocals.
Balance is important for this EP. Everything is together. Generally the slow plodding is perfect. By waiting Irata is able to achieve something much more interesting than a full-blown, non-stop blast.
~ Beach Sloth

Irata is a band that I had not heard of before, but seeing as they are from the town next to me, I figured it'd be pretty cool to check out their music, and I can say that it was a pretty good idea!
Their new EP is called, 'Vultures', and it was released on November 1st. It was produced by Phillip Cope of Kylesa, and this band has a sound that is quite close to the awesome sound of Kylesa, but how awesome?....let's get to it!
The EP starts with "Keeper's Maker," and it starts with a nice, fuzzy groove intro and goes into a nice rest of the song, that shows the strengths of the band, rocking out. The song is short and straightforward, but it does do what it's supposed to, let you rock and then leave before you get bored with it. A nice introduction to the band.
Old Smoker starts slow, but steady. It has a certain groove to it, a groove that I do dig though. It soon gets to the sound that you will find familiar on this records, distortion and yelling, and I LIKE IT! One thing I really like in this song is the clapping that is in the background, it adds something extra to the song that I really like and feel, along with the bassline, help make this song really different on the album. The ending is also a cool prelude for what is to come, just straight rock.
I have to say that one of my favorite tracks on this EP was the one song that I could find on youtube for this review, 'Deluge'. I really like this song, because it starts out just a blazin' trail, and then goes right into a nice guitar solo. I like that for a good part of this song you get a nice slow change of pace when the band suddenly starts a slower, but ultimately headbangable, section of music. But when you think it's about to end, it comes back and the song finally finishes up with a solo.
Keeper's Maker starts with a nice, fuzzy groove intro and goes into a nice rest of the song, which shows the strengths of the band, rocking out. The song is short and straightforward, but it does do what it's supposed to, let you rock and then leave before you get bored with it.
I must say that the intro to 'Miser' caught me by surprise at first, it's slow, bass led, and show that the band aren't some hard rock, psychedelic band, they can do other things as well. That slow, quietness doesn't stay around, mind you. They stay the pace but then add their typical flavor to what they were playing before, with distortion and yelling galore. The section in the chorus is awesome; it has a riff reminiscent of one of my favorite musical genres, doom metal. Just a really good, heavy riff, to keep you going through the chorus, before it slows down like the beginning again. If any of you readers are like me, you'll just randomly be singing, "I WONT BE TRAMPLED ON," at random times during the day.
The final track of this EP is "Serpents." I think that is a perfect song to choose as the closing track. It gives a great promise for whatever they have up next. It's nothing too complicated, this song is a great rocker. I like it quite a bit, I think that the end of the song is just awesome with the loud screams to cap off the song and the EP overall.
The 411: I think that this is a well produced and performed piece of music. I dig what the band is doing and feel like if they gave a bit more on this EP, I'd give it a higher score. I also wouldn't mind them delving into those doomy riffs and psychedelic breaks more often, because it makes for an intriguing listen. But overall, this album is pretty good, I dig it!
~ Robert Cooper, 411mania

The Greensboro, North Carolina-based trio of Jon Case (bass), Jason Duff (guitar, sax, moog) and Jason Ward, a.k.a Irata released one of my favorite albums of 2010, and they’re back with a new EP, Vultures which SIlber Media will be releasing this month. “Old Smoker,” is the first single from the new EP and what you’ll immediately notice is that in place of the squealing saxophone, there’s lyrics and vocals. Cheryl Hill has been enlisted to join the band and her guitar work adds a punishingly aggressive, sludgier sound to the proceedings. It’ll kick your ass, and leave you panting for a bit more. (Yes, it’ll probably remind some of you of Tool, and a harder King Crimson, perhaps.)
~ William Ruben Helms, The Joy of Violent Movement

North Carolina’s Irata exemplifies a Southern blend of blues and metal, with some old rock n’ roll praising-thrown in for good measure. People who are listeners of any one of those genres, and many more, can likely find something to love in “Vultures.”
Immediately, Irata shows off its stuff in “Deluge:” Cheryl Hall plays groovy guitar and cranks up the fuzzy tone, but not so much as to go into overkill territory where the melody is unintelligible. She has great solos - they’re very 1960s and 70s psychedelic with a nearly Americana/ hard rock feel, but hardcore metal heads could definitely find merit to it. Think of a less Satanic Electric Wizard and more rock Soilent Green. The music is fun to get into and even danceable. While JJon Case has tough vocals, he does not growl, and this is an album that could have a mass appeal. “Keeper’s Maker” has a great medium-tempo that can be utilized for headbanging with your buddies or dancing with your lady.
“Miser” begins with a sad and dark guitar and even some piano notes as JJon sings clean, but sorrowfully. This definitely has a Black Sabbath feel to it, before suddenly a series of noise explosions change the mood to aggression. There are also some moments of instrument silence when JJon needs to emphasize the surely stated lyrics “I won’t be trampled on.” The song keeps a beat throughout that is very forceful and unforgiving.
“Old Smoker” also has a spooky guitar opening with the eventual addition of what sounds like beats from drumsticks on the metal rim or clapping. The long introduction creates great anticipation for whatever could be coming next. JJon sings above every other sound, and then a strong, commanding guitar plays a blues rhythm. Then it goes back to the music at the beginning of the song and repeats the cycle. Furthermore, “Serpents” definitely has an Electric Wizard sound too, but with that sweltering Southern summer malaise to it.
The only flaw with this album is that there are only five songs. I really wanted to hear more, but I’m sure there will be more music on the way eventually.
Highs: Fun, yet still heavy and dark.
Lows: I only wish it was a full-length album.
Bottom line: Fantastic album with metal, rock, and blues combined.
~ Metal Underground

Although there have been several lineup changes since the Greensboro, NC-based Irata formed in 2006, a few things have been fairly consistent – the band’s founding duo of Jon Case (bass) and Jason Ward (drums), and the band’s reputation over the last couple of years for a sound that’s dense and mathematically precise, possessing an inventive, challenging bit of genre mashing that resisted easy pigeonholing – all while being remarkably accessible.
Quietly released, without tons of fanfare by Silber Records the other day, much like their self-titled release, Irata’s Vultures is the first release from the band in over two years. And interestingly, the album reveals a band that has not only gone through a series of lineup changes, and other changes but a band that’s endlessly restless. Guitarist Jason Duff, who played an integral role on Irata has been replaced by Cheryl Hall. Whereas Duff played with a great sense of subtlety and a mathematical sort of precision, Hall’s work on Vultures adds a punishingly loud, aggressive and insistent muscle to the proceedings – the sort of power that hadn’t been there before. But just as interesting was the first single off the effort, “Old Smoker,” which has the band replacing saxophones with the screaming, howling vocals of both Case and Ward. Also, Vultures is the first effort where the band has an outside producer, Phillip Cope of Kylesa.  On a certain level, Vultures is a move towards greater simplicity, and in that simplicity there can often be a counterintuitive sense of freedom.
Interestingly, a few elements of the band’s prog rock days still remain, even if they’re on the fringes. Album opener, “Old Smoker,” has an introductory section that sounds a bit like a metronome, and in some way as though it were a continuation of their self-titled album – before being taken over with thrashing, heavy metal, powerr chords. Lyrically, the song alludes to an old, chain smoking man – but it could also allude to an old, rusty hulk of a car. “Deluge,” is a bit reminiscent of the staggered chords of “Stop,” one of my favorite Jane’s Addiction songs off of Habitual De Lo Ritual. “Miser,” with its thundering drums, sounds a bit like an angry and hungry dinosaur stomping about, as Ward and Case sing that they “won’t be trampled on” during the song’s chorus.
Will Irata’s new direction turn off some of the fans they won over with their debut? Yeah, I think it may, but the artist has to follow where their muse directs them – sometimes with great risk. Vultures shows that Irata is more than ready to take a great risk for the sake of their art, and that’s in itself is quite impressive but at the same time, the album feels a bit beholden to it’s influences – to the point that it sounds as though it could have easily come out in 1993 as it could have come out last week. Still, the band sounds as though they’re ready to kick ass and take several names, and it’ll be interesting to see how their sound develops next, and how they go about it.
~ Joy of Violent Movement

Judging by the rhythmically complex riffs on "Old Smoker," the first track on new EP Vultures, North Carolina's Irata might come across as mathematical prog-rock wizards. Yet on "Deluge," a track that comes just a few minutes later, one's first impression of the band could just as easily be that of a flashy, dramatic alt-metal act such as Jane's Addiction. The truth fits somewhere comfortably in between the two, however. The band, a duo which expands to a trio live, has been through their share of metamorphoses, starting off as an instrumental psych-rock group before adding and shedding a few members, adding vocals and ultimately settling into the dynamic machine heard on Vultures, produced by fellow psych-metal Southerner Philip Cope, frontman of Savannah's Kylesa.
On a textural level, Vultures shares a lot in common with recent records by Kylesa, Irata's psychedelic, sometimes spacey approach giving way to dense and muscular crunch in its most powerful moments. But it's also easy to see where the band might have once excelled as an instrumental act. The relatively brief "Old Smoker" is one of those moments, opening as a complex spiral staircase of riffs and rhythmic jerks. It doesn't take long before Jon Case's vocals come in, however, turning what would have been sufficiently kickass math-metal into an even more fierce attack.
For as well as Irata tackle material with more technical dazzle, there's a broad display of stylistic variance on Vultures, and no two songs are all that similar. "Keeper's Maker" is a more atmospheric psychedelic dirge that balances weightless riff clouds and hypnotic cycles of bass, only to reach the occasional storm of thunderous sludge. "Deluge" is far more straightforward, however, taking on the Jane's Addiction influence more directly both musically and vocally, Case's delivery uncannily like that of Perry Farrell as he sings, "I talk to the animals!" And "Miser," easily one of the EP's strongest tracks, balances the trippy stoner rock vibes of Kyuss with an Alice In Chains-style grunginess that's not only perfectly complementary, but sounds pretty awesome in practice.
While Irata's evolutionary stages preceding Vultures, including their time focusing on being instrumental, have only produced one prior record to date, the stage they're at now is a highly promising one. These five songs are a satisfying sample platter of their strengths and versatility, and more importantly, bode well for the main course to come.
~ Jeff Terich, Treble

Even with its short running time, Irata’s Vultures makes for an interesting. It has a lot of different elements thrown into the mix, making it a varied listen, too. Sludge, metal, prog … you name it.
Over its five tracks the guitar floats viciously over the music, a real harsh sludge sound to it. The drums flail brilliantly, harsh and direct and  tight. The bass on the second track, ”Keepers Makers,” provides the rhythm as the vocals enter and give it that haunting feeling.
The vocals are brilliant, and they carry quite well throughout the dense music, though a lot of the sounds feel like they have been left untouched, left raw and pure. Another highlight is “Deluge” with its middle doomy section; those hanging power chords and overall heaviness.
While it is an EP, Vultures feels a little short, but given repeated listens, I can see that Irata have a lot more to offer.
~ Nick Green, SkullsNBones

Irata er et psykedelisk sludge-aktig band fra North Carolina, USA. Bandet består av trommeslager/vokalist Jason Ward og bassist/vokalist Jon Case Når Irata er ute og spiller har de også med seg turné-gitaristen John Kimes. Tidligere i november (1. nov.) ga de ut EPen Vultures via Pig8Pig/Silver Records. Vultures er produsert av gitaristen og vokalisten i Kylesa, Phillip Cope. Som forøvrig også har produsert utgivelser for Baroness, Withered og Black Tusk. EPen er spillt inn i The Jam Room.
Vultures består av 5 låter som til sammen varer 21 minutter. Allerede noen minutter ut i første låt har jeg lagt min elsk på Irata, for et band! Inspirasjonskildene er ganske tydelige, Melvins og Big Business er to av dem. Ellers hører jeg flere lånte elementer fra 90-tallets grunge-band som Soundgarden og Alice In Chains. Det er ikke rock, men det er heller ikke metal. Så hva er det vi har å gjøre med her da? Duoen Ward og Case har skapt en eksplosiv EP, som har blitt en slags progressiv sludge/grunge hybrid med punk-elementer.
De kombinerer store seige og massive riff med eksplosive vokaler som er en slags krysning mellom, Buzz Osbourne (Melvins) og Perry Farrell (Jane´s Addiction). De plukker sine helters musikk fra hverandre, beholder det beste fra hver sjanger og koker det sammen til et blytungt, fengende og eksplosivt lydbilde.
Første låt ut er Old Smoker, en låt på 4,5 minutter som inneholder alt fra sinnssyke basslinjer, en vokal som holder på å gå i strupen på deg, masse støy, vakre melodier og massiv energisk tromming. Kompleks riffing og teksturer gjør at Old Smoker kan sammenlignes med Kylesa. Keeper´s Maker er neste låt ut, en kort og svært aggressiv men likevel psykedelisk låt. Deluge er en mer rett fram alternativ metal-låt. Så til det store høydepunktet Miser på nesten 6 minutter. Her går Irata for en mer stoner-preget stil blandet med ordentlig skitten grunge, og det finnes øyeblikk hvor jeg er overbevist om at Dale Crover slår løs på trommeskinna i bakgrunnen. Serpents er siste låt ut, en Melvins-aktig sak, med klare Soundgarden-elementer.
Det er rart å tenke på at Irata begynte som et instrumental-band. Vokalene imponerer mest, og for meg er det alltid vokalen som avgjør om jeg liker det eller ei. Dette er en fantastisk EP som virkelig inneholder alt en grunge/sludge-tilhenger kan drømme om, dette er et ubeskrivelig mesterverk jeg ikke kan leve uten.
Vultures høres ut som Irata og Irata høres ut som Irata. Slipp alt du har i hendene og sett på Vultures!
~ Gerrit Karafiat, Skrikzine

Ondanks het grote aanbod aan nieuwe kwaliteitsband, blijf ik bij het feit dat er voor mij vroeger veel grotere bands zijn geweest. Bands die mijn muzieksmaak hebben gevormd, bands die een poort open hebben gezet voor alles erna. Dat heeft natuurlijk alles te maken met het tijdstip waar je als muziekliefhebber instapt. Voor mij zijn de jaren 80 en 90 cruciaal. Ik mis de sensatie wel eens die ik met bands als Fugazi, Tool, Jane’s Addiction en de God Machine heb ervaren. Deze groepen noem ik niet voor niets, want de driemansformatie Irata rakelt al die zaken op en zorgt voor dat sensationele gevoel dat ik nog wel eens ontbeer. In 2008 presenteren ze hun gelijknamige debuut, dat geheel van deze tijd is maar wel die energieke post-punk, hardcore en noise van weleer in zich heeft. In 2010 ontfermt het bijzondere, eigenzinnige Silber records zich over hen en brengt dat debuut nogmaals uit. En terecht, want ze mogen gehoord worden. Inmiddels is het trio gereduceerd tot het duo Jason Ward (drums, keyboard, zang) en Jon Case (bas, zang). Ze komen nu eindelijk hun nieuwe mini album Vultures op de proppen, waarop ze de lijn van hun debuut doortrekken. De twee brengen in 21 minuten 5 krachtige songs die het beste naar boven halen uit de post-rock, metal, noise, post-hardcore en noem het maar op. De songs weten datzelfde zinderende gevoel van vervlogen tijden weer tot leven te brengen, zij het op een moderne wijze. Naast de genoemde bands zijn het ook Stabbing Westward, Neurosis, Don Caballero en zelfs King Crimson die ter referentie opduiken. IJzersterke gitaarmuziek met riffs of je vingers bij af te likken, pakkende schreeuwerige zang en de dynamiek en spannende opbouw van al die geweldige bands maken hier de dienst uit. Het is enkel te hopen dat deze studenten naast hun studie het kunnen opbrengen dit vaker te doen, want dit is zo krankzinnig goed. Muziek die op alle fronten klopt en giert van de passie.
~ Jan Willem Broek, Caleidoscoop