Album Review: DEAD CROSS – Dead Cross (Ipecac Recordings)

Dead Cross are an American hardcore/progressive metal group, formed in Southern California. The band consists of guitarist Mike Crain (Retox), bassist Justin Pearson (the Locust, Head Wound City and Retox), drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer and Fantômas) and vocalist Mike Patton (currently of Faith No More and Fantômas).  They released their debut album in August 2017 and then, seemingly out of nowhere, released released a further self-titled EP containing two new songs and two remixes from their previous album.

Their sound is sophistocated, yet brutal.  They are not what would be expected of a hardcore-based outfit and that is Mike Patton’s calling card.  While others dare not progress, Patton constantly wants to evolve and grow.  His voice is as varied on Dead Cross songs as any of his other projects, whether it be snarling, screaming or singing, it is still his very own.  The signature drumming of Lombardo also is very prominent and complements the ferocious guitar work of Crain and the understated bass of Pearson.

The E.P. is four songs of pure adrenaline, being pumped into the black heart of society.  There are two new songs, “Skin Of A Redneck” and “My Perfect Prisoner“.  Both of these are bangers, with a blunt trauma sound that stabs at you without mercy.  There is anger here, directed at the whole world.  It is like a two punch being delivered in the first moments of a boxing match.  The blood is still dripping from your face, whilst the champion is dropping you onto the canvas.

The second part of the E.P. is where the band get experimental.  They take two songs from their album and let the remixing re-imagine the sound.

Shillelagh – Panicker Remix” is an EDM hardcore fusion, with multiple keyboards, beeps and electronica.   It completely changes the tone from the original hardcore ripper that appeared on the debut.  It works superbly well, as it takes the cadaver and fills it with new sonics.  This is probably my favorite track on this E.P.

The final song is “Church of the Motherf*ckers – Planet B Remix” and this is a more restrained remix, but keeps the electronica elements to fill out the sound.  Patton explores every element of his voice on this, whilst Lombardo is strangely muted until the blast beat fills, augmented by drum machines.  A brave song, for sure.

The E.P. is a finely crafted exercise in keeping fans connected to the band whilst they start to tour.  It is a worthwhile addition to their catalogue and shows progression.

State Of The Art: SPACE CADAVER [Album + Video Stream]

*This is a part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state.*

This month’s state is Louisiana!

New Orleans’ Space Cadaver are a band that have fury and finesse, with a groove that stomps all over their songs. They have a sci-fi style and power to match the best in the universe. Guitarist/vocalist John Baleine, bassist Beto Arias and drummer Jason Meserole bring dark and light in equal measure.  Formed in 2015, Space Cadaver have shared the stage with heavyweights such as Conan, Acid King and Ufomammut. Their message of spacey doom is spreading quickly!

Their debut self-titled album has been available since 2017.  Guitarist/vocalist Baleine commented that “this album is a benchmark of 3 years of hard work and determination – an opportunity to grow…and have closure with a lot of dark things… It was a cleanse to purge the pent up frustrations around the suicide and murders of loved ones, drug addiction and the struggle to break free from the things that are no longer serving me.

Space Cadaver have a sound that melds Death, Doom and Stoner in a rock hard package. Their self-titled debut album is a tour de force of genre-defying metal. They may only have a bass, guitar and drums to work from, but they know how to work that to make an amazing cinematic sound that sonically destroys everything in the mainstream metal world.

The album kicks off with the riffy ‘The Infinite Black Sun‘.  This sets the band’s stall out, with Baleine’s growling vocals and thoughtful lyrics.  The sound that a three piece make is genuinely impressive.  The bass is high in the mix and the drums splatter through the fuzz storm of guitar.  There are light passages that bring the sound into a different sphere and the dark parts take you to a back alley and mug you.

The guitar dominates “Day Ruiner“, as the groove is augmented by a superb guitar solo that is full of heart and power.  “Storm” follows with the sound of hell coming out to play.  A grunge-type melody lends the song a spirit that cannot be dismissed easily.

Insufficient Reward” is a masterpiece in cinematic metal.  It ebbs and flows with an approach that composers of movie scores love.  I can imagine a video of someone escaping evil forces, running down dark corridors in space.  The drumming is superb on this tune.

The commercially accessible “Clock Hoarder” continues with its fantastic bass/guitar interplay. It also manages to tip its hat to old school thrash.  “Nowhere, Now Here” continues the album with a progressive, minor key insurgency. Once again, a cinematic sound, focusing on a picture in space of desolation and regret.

The closing two numbers, “Sword of the Lord” and “Draco’s Revenge” are urgent, epic sound songs that veer from blast beats to progressive jazz in the space of minutes.

Overall, Space Cadaver are a band that everyone should check out, before they check out (in space, naturally).

Album Review: OVERKILL – ‘Live In Overhausen’ (Nuclear Blast)

OVERKILL are a legendary thrash metal band, formed in 1980 in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist D. D. Verni and lead vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth as the only constant members. OVERKILL‘s current lineup also includes Dave Linsk on lead guitar, Derek Tailer on rhythm guitar and Jason Bittner on drums.

The band are masters of the crunchy thrash that the 1980’s spawned.  They eat and drink metal music and Blitz is a renowned singer within the genre, being one of the godfathers of thrash, along with James Hetfield of METALLICA and Chuck Billy of TESTAMENT.  They have a significant library of studio albums (nineteen in total), including the stone cold classics ‘Under The Influence’ (1988) and ‘Horrorscope’ (1999). Continue reading