Give the band Ghost some methamphetamines, throw them into a thrash jungle, and you’ll come out with something close to Dead Cross. The band’s self-titled album throws hard-core punk brutality, operatic vocals, and ridiculous jungle grooves into a thrash machine that slaps you across the face and drop-kicks you in the balls.
The band, made up of Faith No More’s Mike Patton, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, and Retox’s Justin Person and Micheal Crain, released Dead Cross on August 4th, 2017 under Ipecac Recordings, and it opens with the track “Seizure and Desist;” a short song that gives you a full scope of what is to come. Miscellaneous robotic noises give way to the monstrous thrash groove held down by Lombardo’s drumming. Enter Patton’s display of both operatic and throat-wrenching primal screams and you could immediately paint the sonic landscape for the album. Mega tones are brought to the soundscape by Crain’s guitar and Pearson’s bass and gel this punch of brutality together. The tracklist is relentless. Short songs, generally lasting under three-minutes, rip through the listener. By the time your senses have been recollected the album is over as it clocks in at just over 26-minutes. It is a sprint through a wildly dark and evil concrete jungle.
Track number six, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” is my favourite of the lot. Pearson’s fuzzed-out bass tone pulls the listener in while Crain sets the mood with some ambient guitar effects. Patton’s deep and occult-like vocal delivery is incredible, and my favourite display of his vocals on the album. The highlight out of the ten tracks, however, is easily Lombardo’s incredible drum performance. Hearing him punch through thrash beats while still managing to add some wild tom-groove action makes me want to see this beast live. The thought alone of the athleticism it must take to deliver this level of drumming makes me lose my breath. Serious props to Lombardo.
The longest track clocks-in just one-second too long at 4:21. Track number nine, “Gag Reflex,” is the outlier of the otherwise short runtime, but it also stuck out due to some heavy synth sounds that make a brief appearance early in the song. The keys are mixed with sweet melody and harmonies, another aspect of Patton’s vocal diversity that stands out through the record. There’s also some heavy swagger that develops throughout that keeps the album rolling strong until the very last song. It also demonstrates the band’s capability to swing to either side of the spectrum; from dark operatic doom, to gut-wrenching savageness.
The ten-track album was a ripper. Sometimes thrash could get stale as it is easy to fall into the basic equation for the genre. Luckily for us, the guys in Dead Cross tossed in some heavy groove elements, versatile singing, and overall great musicianship to produce a solid display of power. In September, the supergroup wrapped up a tour of over 20 shows following the release of the album. Hopefully, they will be back in action again soon on both sides of the American/Canadian border. Until then, there is more than enough energy to tap into on this record, so enjoy.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy