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Cro Mighty in the Age of Quarantine - 100%

Narasimhayuga, June 17th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2020, Digital, Mission Two Entertainment

For many of us Cro Mags fans, much of what they were doing seemed to be done and dead after their second LP "Best Wishes" came out. Now, back then, when cassette players were more common than CDs by far, "Age of Quarrel" and "Best Wishes" became the best tapes to spin for the most epic NYHC aural assaults ever heard in the mid to late 80s. Of course, Harley Flanagan, the bassist, singer, and drummer for the band, had begun his journey as a 10 year old shaven headed punker with his aunt in the Stimulators in the NYC hardcore punk scene. And, since the beginning, there has been this metal element brought to the table by Parris Mayhem, their guitarist. Some could say they that they are the original Metal and Punk Crossover band. The same critics also forget about Mōtorhead, as it was Lemmy (RIP) ,who was crossing over the genres before bands like Venom . Before that, Lemmy was doing the mix of genres with certain Hawkwind songs (Silver Machine is just one example). While Mōtorhead was a 70s UK band, Cro Mags in the early 80s on the East Coast of Americaʻs shores in NYC took everything to a new extreme.

The release is firm, while being extremely aggressive with a lot of intentionally chaotic moments as well as melody and perfect recording quality! This is a great Crossover release and Rocky Georgeʻs solo guitar playing and harmonies transpose the band to a new level. Cro Mags came back and took it up a notch all around. Harleyʻs solo demos, solo projects, and new Cro Mags releases prove that John Joseph was not really significant in the scheme of their artistic progress or power despite some of his great lyrics contributions, stage presence, and sacrifices he had made for this band (Hit and Miss as heʻs only actually on a few of the releases recording wise and Eric Cassanova was before him)! One cannot deny that, Mr. Flanagan pulls off an amazing release again and has pioneered NYHC and Crossover Metal and punk to that new plateau once again! There are moments on this release where the vibes are almost industrialish rather than punk or metal, but it perfectly fits the Sound Track to the messed up year 2020 was with the Covid 19 Pandemic and everything else.

The EP takes the listener on an awesome mental journey. Starting with the funky rap beat intro to "Age of Quarantine", this EP really kicks in with some aggressive hardcore which sounds like the whole band became an audio juggernaut assaulting like a steroid freak while taking it into old school mid-paces with beat you down vibe throughout. And, this tune also breaks down into slow epic parts with melody and superb solos the way that only Rocky George of Suicidal Tendencies can do them. Track two, the title track, "2020" has this dual fold element of an almost cathartic type vibe, but at the same time it can be more of a subjective vibe struggling through the darkness of life to reach the light rather than an expression of releasing negative emotions. "2020" as a song also sways the listener into hypnotic melodies which set the listener up for the upcoming track. Enter the track "Violence and Destruction", which is just that, a brutal almost Death Metal type of Crossover assault still retaining that old school vibe. Unlike the prior track, which has also a futuristic darkness type of vibe and industrialism to it, thereʻs nothing new about the approach used herein. At last, the track "Chaos in the Streets" gives a bit more variety from all the past tracks as it starts out kind of industrial sounding, but retains the standard approach to Crossover Thrash in general, while adding some of the melodies along with clean vocal styles that John Joseph once brought to the band at times. Being the second to last track, it sets everyone up for the progressive and fusion like "Cro Fusion" Instrumental which, is kind of a sense of calm after mass obliteration and destruction with some jazzy funky elements as well that one might expect to find in Cynic or Atheist tunes on their later materials.

Overall this EP cannot escape that it will in its own right continue to remain as a masterpiece. Some of us do not listen to the drama or the rumors concerning band members, we listen to the music and we support Harley and the musical endeavors of his Cro Mags all the way. Although, this falls short of the nostalgia of the tunes from "Age of Quarrel" and tunes like "Hard Times", it will forever retain some mental disturbance for those among us who are going to be forced to reminisce about that shitty time that the government tried to force us all to wear some stupid masks on our faces for a disease they helped spread. Jeez! At any rate, this was overall a very grim vibed release other than the semi chaotic, yet, happy Outro to this EP entitled "Cro-Fusion", which also displays remarkable musicianship and playing skills. From beginning to end, itʻs a tight release and has quality musicianship throughout! It makes true fans of the band eager to see what Harley and Rocky will bring to the table next! This release set the ground for how good they have to keep it from now on and is well worth getting! The drums do not fail, the bass does not fail, the guitars do not fail, the voice does not fail, and neither does the production and engineering in sound. In fact, it was on point as it was meant to be. True Cro Mags fans are very likely to appreciate it at last! It's the best one since Revenge and leaves much to be desired for their future releases.