- Year 2017
- Genre Crossover Thrash Metal
- Country USA
- Label Ipecac Recordings
- Rating Solid
Expectations can make or break an album for a listener. No matter how open minded one claims to be, it is human nature to expect and that affects one’s enjoyment of a record to varying degrees. Case in point, for me atleast, is the newest super-group on the block, Dead Cross. Composed of heavy hitters like Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer), Mike Patton (Fantomas, Faith No More), Mike Crain (Retox) and Justin Pearson (Retox), one can’t be faulted for hoping to have their minds blown. The band’s debut release ‘Dead Cross’ does a lot of things very well, but blowing my mind is not exactly one of those things. By no means is this record lacking or defective in any way and all things considered, is a pretty solid crossover thrash album. Considering the names involved however, a merely solid record somehow feels like a let down.
Dead Cross start on a strong note with Seizure and Desist offering just the right mix of thrashy aggression, weird funk experimentation and the manic vocal gymnastics one comes to expect from Patton. This opener sets up the listener for more eclectic ideas to come, but rarely does Dead Cross traverse that line again in the course of this record. The vocalist continues to push through some interesting ideas with his crazy range and antics, but tracks like Idiopathic and Obedience School exhibit instrumentation that is quite straightforward. Don’t get me wrong. If you take away the knowledge of who is actually behind the notes, these could be viewed as well written crossover tracks. But that knowledge leads to expectations which leads to disappointment overall.
Shillelagh redeems the album a bit before the eerie Bella Lugosi’s Dead conjures a horror punk vibe with the semi-whispered chants and dark atmosphere. Further along, tracks like Gag Reflex bring some of the expected eccentricity to the table, but are broken in their flow by tracks that are pretty lackluster in terms of innovation. All things considered, this is a pretty decent debut for Dead Cross. For fans of the members’ previous projects, this may come across as a bit of a restraint on the band’s part. And that is precisely why I am unable to fall for this album as much as I wanted to.
Dead Cross is a band that I will continue to pay attention to over the forthcoming years. Their debut album though, is something I don’t see myself revisiting very often. Then again, all this is just the opinion of one guy with access to a keyboard and a platform. Perhaps it was Dead Cross’s intention all along to reel in some of the quirkiness for a more straight forward output and maybe that is something other listeners will be able to appreciate better than I. To that end, I encourage you, dear readers, to give this a shot and tell us what your thoughts are.