Dead Cross – Dead Cross
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Release Date: August 4, 2017
I have been itching to write this review for quite some time. Due to the intricacies of receiving advanced copies of albums at random times, I have been afforded the luxury of listening to Dead Cross’ self-titled album for weeks. And you will need weeks to process what is happening to your ears as you hear what can only be described as the world’s largest fireworks display going off in a gasoline-filled fishbowl.
It’s fucking awesome.
Full disclaimer; I am a massive Faith No More fan. I truly believe they are one of the most underrated bands in rock/metal history. That is due in no small part to the timing of their debut but moreso the incredible musical talents of Mike Patton. I cannot find the correct words to describe what he can do vocally or musically, other than I don’t know anyone else that is in his league (Maybe MJK, but even he doesn’t have the scope of work that Patton does). My intrigue in FNM led me to Patton side projects like Tomahawk, Fantômas, and Mr. Bungle. If you want to see how weird things can get, fire away at any of those three, but you will still come away wondering “How the hell did they pull that off?”. I enjoy Mr. Bungle the most of the three, and that’s where you can begin your expectations for what Patton brings to this album.
Michael Crain and Justin Pearson of Retox join Patton and Dave Lombardo to form the nexus of Dead Cross. Yes, that Dave Lombardo. F***ing Slayer’s Dave Lombardo. Michael and Justin clearly bring the hardcore element piece of the band, and Lombardo does what only he can do. Now imagine Dave and Mike Patton getting five minutes to conceptualize an album, then having 10 minutes to record it all (just my guess here, but you’ll hear what I mean).
Gas-fishbowl-27 minutes of hardcore/metal/insanity. And when you’re done, you will be grinning from ear to ear. Damn near giddy.
So when you pick this up (which you will), grab a comfy chair and begin your listening with “Grave Slave”. After you say “Holy shit!” a few times, you will get introduced to the intensity filled grooves that pepper every song on the album. You will listen to it again, chuckling at how perfectly it all comes together, and again one more time to hear the layers in the song. One minute, fifty-nine seconds and you have been baptized and mesmerized.
“Seizure and Desist” and “Idiopathic” start things off with the speed of punk but the darker sounds that the rest of the album delivers. “Obedience School” is where things get nuts. Patton’s choice for lyrics here and throughout the album are random, disgusting, and hilarious. “Shillelagh” shreds through another great track, leading to the horror-actor themed “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”. It sounds just like you think it should. “Divine Filth” has a definite Slayer-feel to it and “Grave Slave” follows. “The Future Has Been Cancelled”, “Gag Reflex” and “Church of the Motherfuckers” finish the album in fine form, leading you back to the beginning where you will want to hear it all again.
Let’s be frank, this is probably not like anything you’ve heard before. This is clearly Patton at his finest with a sound that allows him every ounce of freedom to go nuts. As an overall group, the only thing close I can come up with is a mix of S.O.D./Misfits/Mr. Bungle. But they are clearly adding in an element that isn’t always apparent in heavy music. It’s FUN! I would have given anything to see the guys writing these songs, rocking their asses off, laughing, and throwing it down for us to enjoy. Dead Cross put the F-U in fun with their eponymous debut, and I’m guessing they wouldn’t have it any other way.