"Iron Cages" is a fine opener, highlighting how Friedberg can find tension in the smoothest sounds. The instrumental is fluid and sexy, but guns and sirens are hidden in its sinuous movements. With a stellar vocal from Odile Myrtil and some tasteful guitar from Daniel Aged of Inc., it's turn-of-the-millennium pop with a bite. The rest of Iron Cages is considerably harsher. It rattles with the energy of ballroom, and swings and swoops with the jagged arc of dembow. "Airlock" is a barrage of distorted drums flanked by pitched-down dancehall vocals and beastly moans, while "Twitch Queen" works vintage rave synths into a windstorm of percussion, recalling hardcore's darkest throes. Moving over to trance and hardstyle, "Black Jacobins" has a nightcore reverie running beneath its percussive spray and ballroom-style stabs. The track finds beauty in its rhythmic assault.
"Fucking Fascist" is the simplest tune here, and it gets the point across most efficiently, centering on an eerie glockenspiel melody that sounds like trap caught in a wind a tunnel. When Friedberg picks up the pace, the glockenspiel is sent into double-time frenzy. The carnivalesque tempo changes give the track an unstable feel that functions like an antidote to quantized house music. On social media, Friedberg is an outspoken advocate for queer and minority rights, which gives his music a political edge. (Iron Cages is named for a book about institutional racism in the US.) If "cleaned up, well-produced electronic music" is the domain of white privilege, as Elysia Crampton put it in a recent interview, then Rizzla is reassembling it in sharper and more violent forms.