By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
There is no doubt in my mind, as to who is the best drummer in thrash metal. The answer is former Slayer drummer, Dave Lombardo. Dubbed as the “Godfather of Double Bass,” Lombardo is truly a one-of-a-kind innovator who helped create the aggressive style of drumming that has dominated the heavy metal scene. Besides working with Slayer, he has played in an array of successful groups, who have benefited from his technique. These groups include Testament, Fantômas, the Misfits, and Suicidal Tendencies. Now, he has gone on and created a new project that is sure going to be a smash hit. Ladies and gentleman, I give to you Dead Cross. It is a brand new supergroup that consists of members from Faith No More, the Locust, and Retox. The best of all these worlds have come together to give the rock fans Dead Cross, a self-titled debut that screams chaos and anarchy. Let the rioting commence.
Joining Lombardo on this wild group of rockers is vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More), bassist Justin Pearson (The Locust), and guitarist Mike Crain (Retox). When the album starts with “Seizure and Desist,” I felt the insanity in their playing. The way that these guys perform is out of control, full of angst and force. Patton is a madman on vocals. He goes off the wall every time he wails into the mic. Lombardo is an animal on the drums, just hammering away at every cymbal, snare, and double bass. He performs very complex, original beats that would rival Mike Portnoy. Crain riffs it up on the guitar with such exactitude. He creates some lingering licks that sent chills right up my spine. Pearson pounds it on the bass with speed and determination. He is mostly simplistic, but it is enough to give the songs such drive.
Most people who have heard them before usually categorize them in the heavy metal genre. When listening to the songs however, one senses they are more hardcore punk, with hints of thrash and alternative. They are straightforward, but are weird enough to keep my attention. Some of their best songs include “The Future Has Been Cancelled,” “Gag Reflex,” and “Obedience School.” I loved listening to “Bella Lugosi’s Dead” because it has this skater punk rock attitude that makes me want to pick a skateboarder and tear up the Newport Pier. They get a little political with “Grave Slave,” and deal with racism in “Idiopathic.” The closing track, “Church of the Motherfucker,” is the work of an evil genius accompanied by a vicious rhythm.
Dead Cross is a crowning jewel in hardcore punk. All four of these incredibly gifted musicians make a lethal combination. Patton screeches with forceful supremacy, Crain is a guitar maniac, Lombardo goes into monster mode on drums, and Pearson thunders away at the bass. They have created something special here. A band of this magnitude comes around very rarely. They are about to headline their first tour soon, and the fans jaws are going to drop as soon as the first note is struck. This being their first album, I hope they have more tricks up their sleeves. To Dead Cross, I salute you. Horns up!!! 9.0/10