“Iron Bison” performs locally in build-up to debut album

Not many can say their music is outdated by the conception of their band by five years, but if your hobbies include creating the fictitious, “most brutal sludge band in the world,” you might be the creator of the “beer-fueled, basement punk metal” band, Iron Bison. Native to Cleveland, the “real” band was formed in November 2015 by guitarist and vocalist Josh Richey and drummer Paco Manzuk in the name of making a ruckus.

True to the insestual nature of the Cleveland music scene, the two met through a friend of a friend (of a friend), and already having gone through the trouble of creating fake band drama and making up merch stickers for a nonexistent band, they decided to turn the joke band into a reality.

Transitioning from basement recordings, Iron Bison is currently acting as guinea pigs for their recording studio, Signal Flow Studios, as they are the first full ensemble the label has taken on to record an album. Their last single was released in January 2018, and they are putting out a new album no later than May of 2018. The release will be preceded by their first tour of the midwest loop beginning in April. Kicking off with a show at the Plymouth House, they are hitting Detroit, Pittsburgh and Columbus with a few other stops in the works. The tour serves as promotion for the anticipated album.

“Some of the newer stuff gets a little more complex,” said frontman Josh Richey. “The older stuff is a little more straightforward. We’ve been working on making it more interesting and a little heavier. And the album is going to be full with bass and everything. It sounds more mature and better produced.”

A shift in their sound from “loud and pissed off with a lot of feedback and a little groove” to a development of meticulous attention to detail can be expected. Most of their pizzazz, though, comes from their live performances where nothing if not craziness ensues. The band played the leading role of headliner for the first time at Mahall’s on March 16, opened for by a band they’ve broken bread with time and again as they came up together, Two Hands.

“We try to do at least one show a month because we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin,” Richey said. “We’ll do a Cleveland show every couple months, a big one, depending on what we get offered. And we try to go to Kent or Akron when we can. The band had a show last Wednesday, March 22 at It’s a Kling Thing! House, their first run in Akron, Ohio in nearly a year.

Richey continued, “As far as we can take it, that’s what we want to do. We’re seeing where this album might take us. It’s just fun to be able to do this at all. It’s something neither of us really thought we’d actually be able to do to this extent. So I guess the goal is to keep it going and hopefully get more and more traction.”