If you don’t know the Cro-Mags, here is the super abridged version. This is a band who helped create a musical scene with their explosive first album The Age Of Quarrel before getting tangled in a quagmire of clashing egos, bad business decisions, worse albums and of course the eventual demise and several rebirths that have come. The only constant has always been bassist/vocalist Harley Flanagan who carries one half of the bad blood between he and so many ex-members. An arrangement was finally settled late last year with two of the other main protagonists in this hardcore drama, allowing Harley to finally move on with ownership of the Cro-Mags name after 20+ years of soap opera bullshit.
Look, its complicated while at the same time often appearing very juvenile. Go look it up yourself if I haven’t lost you yet.
Slow burning intros on any song can be a drag, and always feels accentuated where the immediacy of hardcore or crossover styles are concerned. Don’t Give In is a perfect example. The album opener slowly builds up to a thrashing minute and a half of traditional east coast hardcore that arrives with all the subtlety of a brick through a window as it lands on the floor.
Drag You Under quickly holds onto the ferocious plan laid out in the end of the opener with the early lyric of “Time for you to grow a fucking pair” helping to dial in the tough love approach that this band are capable of while showing off the kind of swivel eyed lunacy and passion that Harley has displayed over the years.
By the time you get the to rumbling bass intro of No One’s Coming, the most apparent thing about this album and the music contained within is just how authentic and rooted in the original NYHC sound it is, merely carrying a sharp metallic edge to keep things interesting. In the Beginning will take many by surprise at just how authentic it really is, the only low point being the directionless instrumental Between Wars that just belong as it meanders along for almost six minutes .
The album is coated in the New York tough of old, the only kind a character such as Flanagan. Tales about struggles and sacrifices and the odour of the streets wafts into your senses, as well as the taste of grit. If this is where Cro-Mags ended up after the genre defining debut so many years and managed to keep egos in check, they would have taken over the world. It with a similar sentiment as There Was A Time rattles out with a hope that only Cro-Mags could conjure up after so many years fighting already behind them and getting ready to start fighting again.
1. Don’t Give In
2. Drag You Under
3. No One’s Victim
4. From The Grave
5. No One’s Coming
7. The Final Test
8. One Bad Decision
9. Two Hours
10. Don’t Talk About It
11. Between Wars
12. No Turning Back
13. There Was A Time