I remember watching Crobot open for Clutch back in 2015 and being stunned by their energy. As Brandon Yeagley wailed into the microphone on “Nowhere to Hide,” I thought, This band is headed places.
Unfortunately (and despite jamming to Something Supernatural soon after in the car), Crobot eventually slipped off my radar as I fell deeper and deeper into the Stoner Rock rabbit hole I had recently discovered.
But a few weeks ago, singer and guitarist Brandon Welch of IROH sent along a little single called “In Exile,” and it reminded me of headbanging to Crobot against the barricade at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia so many years ago.
With its powerful guitars, catchy melodies, and unstoppable momentum, “In Exile” is a forceful single as inspired by the Alt Rock scene of the ‘90s and early 2000s as it is by Stoner Rock in general. The band summarizes all of it in three words: Heavy Hazy Rock.
But before we dig any further into “In Exile,” let’s talk about IROH.
IROH is the brainchild of singer and guitarist Brandon Welch (of Fuzz Rock band Planet of the Sun and Hardcore/Alt Rock band Far-Less).
Welch wrote all of the songs for the new Winston-Salem project, then asked friend Billy Steele to play lead guitar and help polish the tracks. From there, Portland-based drummer Rayland Felts (Far-Less) tracked the drums and Florida-based bassist Steve Martin provided bass.
Because the band is so spread out, Welch has also assembled a local band to help perform live shows.
Single Premiere: ‘In Exile’
I heard “In Exile” on a cold, gray Pittsburgh day, walking along a sidewalk overlooking the city skyline. This song packed so much energy in its soundwaves, I felt fortified against the old Steel City temperatures. In fact, I felt like revisiting Crobot, drinking a lot of beer, and tossing stuff out the window.
“In Exile” does channel the infectious, upbeat songwriting of Crobot, but it also mixes in high-energy Stoner Rock bands like The Sword—though you’ll also hear traces of Clutch in the single (wait for those keyboards!) and Queens of the Stone Age in the rest of the IROH catalog (especially when IROH is experimenting with sound).
As hinted previously, there’s an undercurrent of IROH’s Alt Rock influences as well, stepping just beyond the catchy Blues Rock of Wolfmother and bumping up against the wall of sound in bands like Cave In and Torche.
“In Exile” delivers a high-octane muscle car of Hard Rock riffage with electrifying vocals and powerful drums—which is perfect, as it’s part of a larger concept EP that largely takes place inside of a muscle car.
This is not a single to miss. And if it’s any indication of what we can expect from a future IROH album, we’re all in for something special.