Direct from Toronto, Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs storm through their upcoming album, Gates of Hell, with an exclusive advance stream followed by some words with the frontman. Scheduled for release at the end of July from Southpaw Records, the sextet sends us to the hopped-up side of Hades where the underworld becomes a down home, DIY community.
From the opening funereal bell ring, Sam along with the Iron Lungs crash out of the gates with the sample of a speeding motor car. With the introductory sing-along of, “I’m alright, somebody singing with me,” the listening audience is brought a little closer with red-cheeked Canadian whiskey rounds of requests to, “Hold Me Close”. The barely minute-and-a-half song “Birthday” is an instant favorite for all future annual celebrations, while “Communication” breaks down dialogue dramas right before getting treated to another ’90s organ-grinding fist pumper, “Get Pumped Up”.
Sam and the gang keep everything plugged-in and cranked way up as “Season of The Witch” rips through the covens and sorority spells. “Heavy On Queen Street” might have been made in Toronto but carries the weight of a mid-’70s 45 from NYC. “Calgary Hill” toasts locales of love, memories, and remembrances to the “so close and out of reach” ballad of angst battles on “17”. The closing notes on “Brides of Satan” finds Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs at their meanest, with their last and loudest song on the album. The camp of the closing song title’s devilish nuptials becomes crushed by the magnitude of guitars made of lead, falling like anvils with every distorted chord.
Sam Coffey took us on a conversational walk into the Gates of Hell.
What kind of real life stories of hell laid the groundwork for what would become, Gates of Hell?
My past and present have been pretty average and by no means hellish but I probably have a tendency to be dramatic. That’s what songwriters do; they exaggerate feeling to some higher sonic decision. A weird year of relationships falling apart, adjusting to changes, feeling isolated and general self-loathing was met with my desire to make a real production out of it and I laid it on pretty thick.
Folks are always talking about how your sound and voice sounds both like contemporaneous and classic garage at the same time. What’s your secret?
I’m just trying to keep it interesting for myself first, that’s probably why I don’t have one voice nailed down. I still listen to the radio. The spirit of the radio is still very much alive in The Iron Lungs and it’s those kinds of influences we draw off. When I listen to classic rock stations I still feel in touch with the modern world. Those bands just wrote songs that lasted and that’s what I’m trying to do.
What songs and albums were you listening to while you were writing and recording for Gates of Hell?
Meatloaf, Bat Out Of Hell was the quintessential record and backbone to this album. This record would not sound like it does if we all hadn’t gathered in (bass player) Richie’s kitchen and flipped and ripped this album till it didn’t sound like music anymore.
What’s next for you and The Iron Lungs?
We have our album release in August and then we are hitting the road for a bit in America at the end of September. We also just started demo-ing the new album, (drummer) Pat just got a Tascam 388 tape machine and we’re probably gonna do it ourselves again.
Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs’ album, Gates of Hell will be available at the end of July from Southpaw Records.