Of all the band members in My Chemical Romance, Frank Iero has arguably been the busiest since the band originally disbanded. With three full-length solo records and a handful of EPs to his name, the latest version of Frank Iero’s project is called Frank Iero and the Future Violents. On Heaven is a Place, This is a Place he has constructed a series of songs emboldened in passion. On this EP, Frank Iero also enlisted some key band members (Evan Nestor <guitars>, Matt Armstrong <bass>, Kayleigh Goldsworthy <piano, organ, violin> and Thursday drummer Tucker Rule) to help with his vision for his music. The result is a collection of songs that sound as immediately gratifying as anything yet released in Iero’s solo career to date.
The EP opens with “Violence,” an electric-guitar driven blast of punk rock meant to make the listener feel each and every lyric. Iero signs passionately on the first verse, “You got so sick I thought I’d die / You got so down I couldn’t get high / You make it harder and harder for me to know who I am / So this time I gotta hear it, if you give a goddamn / Gimme, gimme, gimme, just a bit of your time / Gimme, gimme, gimme, just a bit of your touch.” The song slowly builds in momentum as the track unfolds, and Iero’s trademark growl breathes plenty of emotion into it.
The record’s first single, “Sewerwolf,” follows the solid opener with a slow-burner of a song that allows for each contributing band member to make their mark on the track. On the chorus, Iero sings with conviction that, “I come alive forged in fire / My love will break these / Chains built from pain / They can’t hold me down.” The drumming of Thursday’s Tucker Rule comes through the speakers especially powerful, as he knows exactly when to be precise or when to add a fill to make for a more interesting listening experience.
The third track is a cover of the R.E.M. single, “Losing My Religion,” and Iero and his bandmates serve the song justice as they turn down the noise a bit to reflect on the words of the Alt-rock classic. The song breaks up the steady pounding of punk rock bliss and allows for the listener to take a quick breath before the pulsating and epic closing track, the aptly-titled “Record Ender.” Much like the other songs found on this EP, it gradually builds up momentum to an audibly pleasing chorus of, “I’m breaking down again / I wanna tell you what I never could / It takes a lot to find yourself in a place where no one looks / I’m breaking down again / My sky’s been falling I hope you never knew / I promise I will try to hide if it’s the last thing I ever do.” All of these parts lead up to the sonic wall of noise that leaves fans wanting more from this project sooner rather than later.
Through Frank Iero’s tireless work ethic and his desire to put out music consistently for his fans, it’s hard to not respect Iero’s devotion to his craft. Heaven is a Place, This is a Place makes for a great new chapter in Frank Iero’s storied career, and it’s an excellent preview of the direction he may take this interesting project as time goes on.