Dead Cross – Dead Cross
Hardcore supergroup Dead Cross' debut album is a rollercoaster, with all the positives and negatives that entails
First, the facts: Dead Cross are a kind of hardcore punk supergroup, but a supergroup for people who you imagine would have no interest in supergroups. The band are comprised of drummer Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits), bassist Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox), guitarist Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer) and, in a relatively recent addition, Faith No More's Mike Patton (himself no stranger to vagranting around other bands as his presence in Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, Lovage, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Peeping Tom attests) as frontman.
What's more, before you even plunge your face into the brutal and brackish cold water of their debut, they've already had drama with original frontman Gabe Serbian (also of Retox, The Locust, Holy Molar and Head Wound City) parting company once the vocals had already been recorded. So Patton was brought in, everything was re-recorded, and here we are; Dead Cross' debut album.
And what do we get? Well, 10 songs, only two of which – Gag Reflex and Church of the Motherfuckers – last longer than three minutes. There are tunes, such as opener Seizure and Desist, which wallop you in the face with drums that sound like they've fallen down the stairs, guitars that function much like Samwell Tarly's greyscale stripping skills, and vocals that veer between screams, roars, imitations of Satan, and odd periods of histrionic harmony straight out of the Iron Maiden playbook.
Sometimes, as on Idiopathic, you sense that something is being communicated ('DESTROY EVERYTHING') in the midst of what otherwise could be a terrible argument between people who are attempting to out-rage each other. Sometimes Patton sounds like Angus Young (see Obedience School), sometimes he sounds like a madman doing an impression of a crazed dog (The Future Has Been Cancelled). Other times, such as on the (relatively straight) cover of Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's Dead, you sense they're all having a whale of a time.
To be sure, it's a crazed, nihilistic rollercoaster and like all rollercoaster rides it has its ups and downs, its moments of exhilaration and its dizzying plunges into horror. There are times when it could knock you sick – Gag Reflex, we're looking at you – and just like a rollercoaster, you're pretty glad when it's over. Church of the Motherfuckers is worth waiting around for, though.
Listen to: Obedience School, Bela Lugosi's Dead, Church of the Motherfuckers