Timing really is everything. When they were in the writing process and then in the studio, no way Iron Reagan realized the reality that their third record “Crossover Ministry” would meet upon its release. Yet here we are, days into the Trump reign, and this record is landing at the absolute perfect moment.
The crossover thrashers always walked a thin line between political commentary and debauchery, which is what makes them so fun (and why they draw comparisons to bands such as D.R.I., Anthrax, S.O.D., and others), which continues on this record. This, their first since 2014’s “The Tyranny of Will,” just so happens to be entering a political climate not many of us could believe possible a year ago. A lot of people have noted that metal, punk, and hardcore could be entering a new golden era, what with the administration we’ve been dealt. But shit, those scenes were pretty damn strong already, and this record proves that true. Over 18 tracks and almost 29 minutes, the band blasts back against the modern political landscape (at least the one they faced when writing) as well as pumps out some fun jams that are irreverent and purposely cheeky. You have to have some humor wrapped into your reality, otherwise you’ll lose it.
The band itself launched five years ago, bringing together members of various noteworthy groups under a single banner. Comprised of vocalist Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste), guitarists Mark Bronzino (ANS) and Landphil Hall (Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste), bassist Rob Skotis (Hellbear and formerly of Occultist) and drummer Ryan Parrish (Deathcrown and formerly of Darkest Hour), the band dropped their first record “Worse Than Dead” on A389, pasting faces live and building their reputation. They followed that with a split with Exhumed and an EP before aforementioned “Tyranny” arrived. Now they have this crusher that flies by so fast, you won’t know what hit you.
OK, this is made up of 18 songs that blast by rapidly, so we’re not going to spend a ton of time with each one. “Dying World” starts with feedback and chaos, with a howl of, “Cannot save a dying world!” bringing a sobering awakening. “You Never Learn” is a huge blast with speed and spat-out words, which goes into “Grim Business” that is built on classic thrash and a nice dose of catchiness to help ease the hell down your throat. “Dead With My Friends” is hopeless but also humorous, with pianos dripping and the song bursting, as sarcastic shouts and a blazing solo let things burn viciously. “No Sell” is 14 seconds of shrapnel, followed by “Condition Evolution” and its rapid-fire vocals, with the poke of, “Quit holding onto your past!” “Fuck the Neighbors” is a little goofier, with some comedic dialog and the threat of messing up the complainants’ yards. Then it’s onto “Power of the Skull,” another strange one with gang vocals and a punishing pace. We then meet the title track, where things turn a little more serious, as the scathing assault and shouted vocals promise no mercy will be offered.
“More War” is a poke at what’s sure to be a focal point of the current administration, as the band pours cynicism into a hope for more death, and the tongue-in-cheek request of, “Let’s make more guns!” serves as a we-see-you audit of the right’s ridiculousness. “Blatant Violence” sounds like what its title indicates, as they blast through this one, trampling bodies and your remaining hearing. “Parents of Tomorrow” barely even exists, as it’s five seconds long with Foresta shouting, “Moms on the internet!” “Bleed the Fifth” is strong and lacerating, with punchy and rib-sticking thrash as well as vocals that rupture the skin. “Megachurch” has singing that reminds of Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir (which is fitting), and it’s the most different song on the entire album. “Same Spiral” is massive and a little bit of a slower driver, while “Dogsnotgods” has vocals that practically splatter you with venom, with Foresta wailing, “If you need a friend, get a dog!” I wholeheartedly back this thought. “Eat or Be Eaten” is something of an interlude track, with electronic blips, before it rips open. Closer “Twist Your Fate” is the most traditionally metallic cut here, with classic guitars burning and eventually leading the way to massive punishment. The howls of, “The good news is we’re not going to last!” is a final burst before the track gets lost in a warped sound cloud and sucked into oblivion.
It’s going to be a long fucking four years, but as long as we have bands such as Iron Reagan around to piss all over the ridiculousness, at least we won’t be lulled to sleep. “Crossover Ministry” is the record you need right now, when your agitation is at its zenith and you can’t take another shit post online. Take a half hour and get your brain bashed by some thrashy goodness. You’ll feel much better when it’s done.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/IRONREAGAN
To buy the album, go here: http://relapse.com/iron-reagan-crossover-ministry/
Or here (digital): https://ironreagan.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://store.relapse.com/