Dead Cross is the only supergroup that I’ve ever really been excited for. The combined musical output of Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, etc.) and Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, etc.) have annoyed my neighbours for years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Add to that the input of Slayer’s Dave Lombardo and Retox’s Michael Crain, and Dead Cross seem like a sure thing. Admittedly, the band’s 2017 self-titled debut wasn’t the instant classic I was anticipating, but was an interesting thrash album nonetheless. That brings us to today; Dead Cross’s follow-up EP is unconventional and captivating despite its short runtime. Simply put, if you dug the full-length, you’ll dig this too.
The Dead Cross EP starts off with “Skin of a Redneck.” The gritty opening chords set in motion a relatively mid-tempo song that, despite not having many twists and turns, really get the blood pumping. The layered vocals add a lot to the track and the background noise throughout the song help keep things interesting. “My Perfect Prisoner” is the only other new track on the EP and it smacks you in the face right off the hop. Between Lombardo’s pummeling drums and Patton’s harsh vocals, especially the disgusting scream near the end of the song, this is definitely the favourite for me.
The second half of the EP is made up of remixes of “Shillelagh” and “Church of the Motherfuckers,” both of which appeared on the band’s debut. Originally a straightforward hardcore track, the Panicker remix of “Shillelagh” is an industrial banger, complete with hard-hitting keyboards and intense pitch-shifted vocals. “Church of the Motherfuckers” is remixed by Planet-B, a San Diego duo comprised of Justin Pearson and Luke Henshaw. Another industrial take on previous Dead Cross material, “Church of the Motherfuckers” is competently put together, but unlike “Shillelagh,” it doesn’t offer that different of a listening experience.
When Dead Cross came out last year, I was anticipating something a little more experimental. Basically, I wanted a new Locust album with Mike Patton. It took a while for me to come around to a comparatively straightforward album, but I grew to appreciate it on repeat listens. With the Dead Cross EP, I already knew what I was getting into. I was hoping to hear a thrash release with some character and that’s exactly what I got. While the remixes might be skips on following listens, the EP is a solid follow up release.
Written by Justin Bruce
*edited by Danielle Kenedy