The Iris

The new CD by Phoenix-based industrial metal band the Iris sounds like a sonic blueprint for a band that's finding its sound and getting hotter by the minute. But the blueprint isn't new — Marilyn Manson, Deftones, and a dozen other bands drew it. What's great about The Vanity Fair is that it isn't wholly derivative, and it's highly ambitious. The songs show serious structure — some tunes start with creepy, tinkling piano introductions and then explode into ear-screeching power chords before sliding down into panicked, sweeping synths. Singer Brandon Dooley has great range, moving easily from cracked whispers to deep-throated goth crooning to high-pitched screams. The problem is, he often sounds like he's gagging on his words, swallowing syllables before they're enunciated, making it hard sometimes to understand his lyrics. But it doesn't really matter when you've got a song like "Assfist," a piece of structured hard noise engorged with synths and shrieks. When the lyrics are indeed listenable, Dooley sings stuff like "I'd like to fuck her upside down" ("Mirror, Mirror") and "Spit dick all over bitch spit" ("Hush and Abide"). Good stuff.