Raw, swirling, and remarkably brash, Archers of Loaf’s debut, Icky Mettle, helped to establish the North Carolina band as a force to be reckoned with in the pantheon of '90s indie rock. With their layered, guitar-heavy approach and driving energy, the album feels like an artifact from an alternate time line where the Pixies decided to get more and more aggressive after Surfer Rosa. Though the band doesn’t completely eschew the idea of harmony, they certainly take a more smash and grab approach to it, paving the road to sonic bliss with destroyed amps and shredded vocal chords. What makes this sound so compelling is the way it explores the full spectrum of guitar-centric rock, pulling together the blunt and abrasive with the thoughtful in the musical equivalent of a shotgun wedding with the bride and groom doing everything in their power to hold it together while the family is watching in uneasy silence. This tension is held up throughout the entire album as both sides of Archers of Loaf’s dual nature fight for supremacy in a battle that would leave a permanent mark on the indie rock landscape.
AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney